I always feel bad for zucchinis. First off, most people (myself included) have a hard time even spelling the word. Two c’s or is it two n’s or both? Despite being incredibly prolific, zucchinis aren’t much celebrated in the culinary world as a delicacy. Additionally, they’re not even considered a “super” vegetable like kale or sweet potatoes.
Poor, poor zucchini. The red-headed stepchild of the vegetable world.
The past two weeks I have done my level best to celebrate this humble food with the half ton of zucchini I bought at the farmer’s market. (I am making a dent in that laundry basket of produce gentle reader, I really, really am.) So I thought I’d share with you some of the best recipes.
My family’s overwhelmingly favorite zucchini recipe were the zucchini pancakes. (The recipe is found here.) They tasted very much like zucchini bread with maple syrup. A combination that is deeeeelicious, I must say.
The second favorite recipe was a zucchini lasagna. (Recipe here.) This was far and away the best lasagna I have tasted. Ever. The only reason it came in under the pancake recipe is because my oldest daughter is woefully prejudiced against lasagnas in general. Poor misguided girl. But even she reluctantly admitted that it was “okay, I guess.” High praise coming from Trinity.
Part of the reason the zucchini lasagna recipe was so delicious was because of the roasted vegetable sauce I made to use in it. The roasted vegetable sauce, incidentally, is full of zucchinis as well. And because of my great love for you, I’m going to tell you how to make it.
In a roasting pan layer a mountainous heap of veggies. I used zucchinis, basil and tomatoes from my garden, and an entire head of peeled garlic. Quantities don’t really matter, just fill that pan, making sure that any blemishes or bad spots are cut out.
You could use other vegetables and herbs as well. (In fact, a few onions would have made this sauce even better.)
Sprinkle some olive or canola oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Then place the whole pan into a 400 degree oven for about two hours, stopping every thirty minutes or so to give the mixture a good stir.
The vegetables will begin to blacken in spots and you will feel that you’ve ruined everything. Fear not, all is well. That is how it is supposed to be. Sadly, despite making this recipe three times, I don’t have a picture of how the veggies look when they finally come out of the oven. But trust me, it isn’t very pretty.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and mash everything until it starts to resemble a lumpy, thick paste. At this point, you can add some water to thin the mixture a little bit if you would like.
If you used more tomatoes than vegetables the sauce will look red, if you used less tomatoes then it will appear brownish in color. I wanted more of a red look so I added a can of tomato sauce.
The end result iss a lovely tasting sauce that was slightly sweet, beautifully seasoned, and incredibly healthy.
This sauce can be used on pizza or over pasta. It can go pretty much wherever plain tomato sauce goes. I thought it was delicious when used in the zucchini lasagna recipe above.
My roasting pan filled with tomatoes and veggies made two servings of the sauce. You can make several batches and freeze the sauce for future recipes.
I can’t wait for a cold winter day when I’ll pull out a container of sauce from the deep freeze. Heating it up will make the whole house smell like summer.
(Of course after this wretched heat I can’t wait for winter, period.)
Viva the zucchini!