I know very few people who don't like fresh zucchini from the garden that is breaded and fried! In this dish, the zucchini is layered with three cheeses and a red marinara or meat sauce to make a lasagna type layered dish that is absolutely delicious. Even squash haters love this dish, and the bonus is that it goes together very fast. I'm not a big promoter of canned sauces, but I've found that grocery stores now carry several brands of bottled Italian red sauce that are quite good. Most of us are busy, and shouldn't feel a bit guilty about using our favorite bottled marinara or spaghetti sauce from off the shelf. If you want to enhance a bottled sauce and make it richer and more substantial, simply brown a pound of ground pork, ground turkey, or Italian sausage (hot or mild according to your preference); add it to the sauce and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. With or without meat, this dish is very filling and needs only a salad and crusty bread to complete the meal.
I prefer to use smaller zucchini, no more than 6-8 inches long, in this recipe as this size is much more tender and less seedy than the bigger ones. If you happen to have eggplant, it is equally good in this recipe. Zucchini Parmigiana can be made one day ahead and refrigerated before baking, or frozen for up to one month; thaw before baking.
4 small zucchini
1 egg, beaten
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 quart spaghetti sauce, homemade or bottled, with or without meat
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Slice the zucchini, dip each slice in the beaten egg, then the bread crumbs. Melt the butter, a tablespoon at a time, in a large skillet and fry the slices, in batches, until golden brown; season with salt and pepper. Place half of the slices in a shallow 2-3 quart casserole dish, cover with half of the ricotta cheese, then half of the mozzarella slices. Cover with half of the sauce. Repeat, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350°, uncovered,for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dish is bubbly. If the cheese is browning too fast, cover loosely with foil.