If you are one the people who are guilty of sneaking excess zucchini from the garden into your neighbor's parked cars or inside their front doors, perhaps the zucchini will be more graciously accepted if you include this recipe. It's a favorite at my house and is also great for pot luck suppers.
2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
4 cups canned plum tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
4 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 medium size zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Place the zucchini in a single layer on lightly sprayed baking sheets. Bake the slices just until they begin to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat the oil in a saucepan; stir in the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook until it softens. Stir in the pork and brown it well.
In a bowl combine the tomatoes and wine. Add to the pork mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper and allow the ragu to cook for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered, until it thickens. Stir in the basil and oregano.
Spread a layer of ragu sauce in a 9 x 12-inch casserole dish. Make a layer of zucchini slices over the sauce and sprinkle them with some of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Spread more ragu over the cheese and then make a layer of mozzarella cheese over the ragu. Continue making layers until all the zucchini is used up. End with a layer of the sauce.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking an additional 10 minutes. Allow the casserole to rest for 5 minutes covered before cutting into squares.
Note: Store leftover ragu sauce in tightly sealed plastic containers in the freezer for up to 3 months. Slicing the eggplant on a mandolin makes quick work and produces beautifully even slices. Remember to use the finger guard when working with moist vegetables so that slips don't result in nasty cuts.
This recipe was featured on show 1608 - Cheese Casseroles.
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