Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zucchini Week - Zucchini Marinara

The end of the summer is always the time for a bumper crop of zucchini in my family. My dad, up until a few years ago, grew a garden. He always planted zucchini, Sicilian Squash, peppers, eggplant, basil and more. My brother-in-law also plants a garden. He still does his garden with my parents and my sister's help to water while he is away on business. Occasionally, he will get D to come over to water with him or my parents. I reap the benefits of all this hard work on gardening by enjoying my mother's eggplant and/or zucchini Parmesan. This summer I also got some peppers, basil, eggplant and lots of zucchini from my brother-in-law's garden. I really wanted to come up with good recipes to enjoy the zucchini. I found a zucchini marinara recipe that both D and I enjoyed. We got the idea while we were up in Rochester, NY this summer. D and I ate dinner at a restaurant called Proetti's. It is a classic Italian restaurant that was close to our hotel. B and his dad decided they "needed" to go to the racetrack which meant D and I were on our own for dinner on a Friday night. Thankfully, I had my GPS and some recommendations which is how we wound up at Proetti's. They serve a complimentary appetizer called Zucchini Marinara. It was so awesomely delicious that I knew I would have to try making some when I got home. D and I gobbled it up. I am not generally such a vegetable lover that I would gobble up any vegetable dish, so just sayin....

I'm betting that the Proetti family (being Italian and all) also has a "bumper crop" of zucchini from their family gardens which is why they came up with this complimentary appetizer. I can't prove this but I think it is a good guess!

1 hour
25 minute prep

Serves 6

2-3 zucchini, unpeeled and sliced
1/4 olive oil, divided
1 (15 oz) jar marinara sauce (or the equivalent of homemade)
1/2 cup red wine
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese (4 ounces)

1. Saute zucchini in 3 tbs olive oil until lightly browned; drain.
2. Place in 1-1/2 quart casserole.
3. Combine marinara sauce, wine, remaining garlic, basil and oregano in small saucepan; stir well.
4. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Spoon sauce over zucchini; mix well.
6. Sprinkle cheese over sauce; cover.
7. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
8. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer.


The Creative Cook