May 28, 2011

Zucchine alla Parmigiana recipe

Summer is definitely here. And with it come chilled glasses of Falanghina, long walks, and lazy afternoons.

Although baking is not ideal in this weather, there's a nice alternative to the usual and world-known cousin Parmigiana di Melanzane, quintessential summer staple. This "tortino in bianco" version, a tomato-less zucchini baked dish, is a summer favorite, and very popular among my circle of friends and family. More delicate than the eggplant counterpart, it combines the principles of Parmigiana, yet with a more subtle gusto.

2 kg (4.4 lbs) ribbed heirloom zucchini (zucchine romanesche)
Parmigiano, grated
Breadcrumbs, toasted
Béchamel sauce (halve quantities to yield 1 1/2 cups)
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter for greasing
Mozzarella (optional)
Salt and pepper

Thinly slice the zucchini length-wise (with a mandoline you can obtain thinner wafers) and sauté them in batches in plenty boiling olive oil. Fish them out with a slotted spoon after a few minutes, the time needed is according to how thinly they have been cut.

*For a "leaner" version, zucchini slices can be grilled, instead of fried.

Grease the bottom of a large enough baking pan with butter, coat with breadcrumbs, and begin layering the zucchini slices, alternating with generous amounts of grated Parmigiano, lashings of béchamel sauce, and a drizzle of olive oil. If you like, you can add sliced Mozzarella as well, but not Bufala, which tends to be too watery. The risk is a soggy mess.

Top the last layer with more Parmigiano, a few curls of butter and some breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until a nice tan crust forms. Remove from the oven and wait for the ambrosia to cool before you apply to face.

Best eaten at room temperature the next day. During overnight refrigeration, elements firm together, making this leftover dish an excellent sandwich filler.

Buon appetito.


  1. I bet this would be delicious in a sandwich or at a picnic! I love melanzane parmigiana so will be trying this one :-) Thanks

    By the way I did try cacio e pepe, I adapted it by adding a dash of cream (sorry- I know it is not the authentic way of having it!). The write up of my attempt is on my blog.


  2. So excited to find your blog. This looks amazing!

  3. This looks fabulous! I love zucchini. Did I ever tell you about the first time I grew zucchini in my vegetable garden? Not knowing how prolific the plants were, I planted four of them... By midsummer I could have opened a stand at the side of the road!

  4. My daughter is a zucchini addict. I haven't tried them this way. Now i will!

  5. Perfection ... I must purchase zucchini at our Farmer's Market this week!

  6. Love this! I've made a similar version so many times over the last few weeks, that I probably should try the leaner version for the rest of the summer. During the late spring and summer season, I become a quasi vegetarian because of the abundance of great fruits and vegetables!

  7. This looks absolutely delizioso! I will definitely try it one day soon.

  8. I am going to make this soon! Your photo is gorgeous-thank you.

  9. Um interesting especially as we are just starting to pick our first zucchini, very tiny ones though!

  10. Sarah~
    I firmly believe in democracy in the kitchen! So if a dash of cream works for your cacio e pepe, I embrace it!!

    La Vita Spaorita~
    Thank you! Nice to "meet" you, I love acquaintances made in the kitchen.

    Zucchini are like that, totally divine and agriculturally unforgiving. Lucky you!!!

    She'll love them. And so will you!

    Yes! And let me know how this turned out, too!

    Same thing happens to me in summer, thankfully here in Italy it's easy to indulge any vegetarian impulses!

    Thank you! I hope you will, and report back with victorious stories.

    Thank YOU!!

    The tiny ones are good!! Are they the striped kind, topped with a curled up blossom? Romanesche are the best zucchini!! ;)

  11. I LOVE this version. When I first saw the title of this post, I was expecting tomato sauce but this was a beautiful and welcome change and I would love to make it.

  12. This looks lovely and I was just trying to figure out what to make with the squash I got at the market. I so love the Italian tortinos. Thanks for the post!