Crispy baked zucchini with bubbly-hot tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella, and rich ricotta cheese.
A delicious mish-mash of parmesan and lasagna.
- 4 medium zucchini, unblemished
- sea or kosher salt
- olive oil, for greasing the pans
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 + ¼ cups Japanese panko crumbs, plus more if needed
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese from a block
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 + ½ jars (24 ounce jars) your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Newman's Own Tomato Basil)
- 2 + ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish
- Wash and dry the zucchini. Slice them lengthwise into planks about ⅓-inch thick - leaving the peel on.
- Line a baking sheet or large platter with paper towels and place one layer of zucchini on them. Lightly sprinkle each side of the zucchini with salt to draw out the water.
- Place 2 paper towels on top and repeat until all the zucchini are salted. Let them sit for about 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes brush the salt off each one and soak up the water with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and grease two baking sheets.
- Set up a dredging station: Place the flour in a wide shallow dish or bowl, beat the eggs with a tablespoon of water in a separate wide shallow dish or bowl.
- Mix the panko crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder together in a bowl. Place a third of them in wide, shallow dish or bowl and add more from the bowl as needed so they don't get all goopy from the egg.
- Working one at a time coat the zucchini on both sides with the flour, dunk into the egg and let the excess drip off then coat in the bread crumbs patting it on with your hands if needed. Place on the baking sheet and repeat until all the zucchini is dredged.
- Bake 7 minutes then flip them over and bake 7 more.
- Leave the oven on at 400 degrees F. and grease an 8x11 oval or similar sized casserole dish.
- Place a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan.
- Place a layer of zucchini over the sauce, sprinkle with ¼ of the mozzarella and dollop ¼ of the ricotta by the spoonful all around. Top with 1 cup of sauce and spread it out.
- Repeat the layers two more times.
- Top the last layer with zucchini, 1 cup sauce, then the rest of the mozzarella followed by the last of the ricotta.
- Bake 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or basil to serve.
Just like making lasagna it’s a labor of love that needs some prep time but is well worth every minute of your time.
Fresh zucchini is sliced into long planks and sprinkled lightly with salt to draw out some of the excess water. It’s left to sit for 20 minutes or so then the salt and water is soaked up with paper towels.
The zucchini is dredged in Japanese panko crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings, and garlic powder and baked until golden and crispy.
It’s layered in a casserole with your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce to save time, shredded mozzarella and dollops of creamy ricotta cheese.
Traditionally parmesan dishes don’t have ricotta but pish-posh on tradition.
Ricotta turns it from blah to sensational.
Drop it by the spoonful so you find warm little pockets of it throughout the layers like a present.
My gift to you.