Weeknight dinners are never easy.  They need to be something that everyone will eat and serve as the occasional reheated leftover for a late husband.  The regular lineup gets boring, so I comb through a few old books and take a quick inventory around the kitchen.  Plenty of tomatoes, gigantic garden zucchini, and perhaps a chunk of cheese.  There is always cheese.  Dispatching tomatoes has become second nature, my hands now working independently.  The dishes pile up in my sink, but not every meal can be a one-pot wonder.  The smell permeating from the oven is enough to make me forget the mess, for now.   

    I would never have expected a meal like to this to be something my little guys would eat.  Yet each time I made it I marveled at how many forkfuls made it into little mouths.  ""Mmmmmm" little fingers grouped together continuously touch; baby sign language for "More."  The only sign language I managed to get either of my boys to use, but probably one of the most helpful tools in my day.  Family and friends always ask how I manage to make meals such as this with two little ones around.  I'm not really sure how or what the answer is.  Tomato sauce in the morning, saute and grate during nap time, and assemble and bake 45 minutes before we eat.  My hands are in a continual state of busy, but that is where they are the happiest.             
           
    If you can't find a goat's milk Gouda cheese you could use Gruyère or another type of firm tangy cheese.  The herbs could be in any form of fresh or dried.  I personally love to use fresh parsley and Basil but sometimes I don't always have them available.  One night last week I actually decided to add some pureed ambercup squash to my tomato sauce and fresh sage to make a more "fall-ish" version, that turned out equally as delicious.    

Zucchini Gratin

Picture
Serves 4

3-4 pounds of whole tomatoes
3 small onions (or 1 large), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 large zucchini

8 oz Goat's Milk Gouda Cheese, Grated
3 oz Pecorino Romano, Grated
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Sage, Thyme)


Blanch, peel, remove the seeds and roughly chop the tomatoes.  In a large pot heat some olive oil and saute the onions and garlic.  Add the tomatoes to the pot and simmer until it thickens.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini into rounds 1/8 inch thick.  Saute the zucchini rounds in a few batches, in a large frying pan until they are soft and slightly browned.  I add a bit of salt and pepper to each batch.  Set them all aside in a large bowl until they are cool to the touch.  Grate your cheeses and mix them together in a small bowl.  Mince your fresh herbs and place them in a small bowl. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Using a large roasting pan, assemble your gratin.  The first layer should be tomato sauce.  Cover the tomato sauce in a layer of the zucchini rounds, making sure to overlap them slightly.  Top the zucchini with some cheese and herbs and then continue adding more layers....sauce, zucchini, cheese, herbs...etc.  Use up as much of your ingredients as possible or until the gratin is almost to the top of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top becomes crispy and golden brown.     
 
 


Comments

09/23/2013 1:26pm

This looks absolutely delicious! I would love to come home to a big plate of this (beautiful tomato sauce!) I'm so glad that your boys ate it too... I am seriously doing something wrong!!! xo

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09/23/2013 5:11pm

I seriously doubt you are doing anything wrong. I'm sure you have a dish that your kids love that mine wouldn't touch!!! I just got lucky with this one for some reason. I have made it once a week for the last three weeks just because they will eat it. You gotta do whatever it takes to get the vegetables in them right :)

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09/23/2013 2:53pm

Wow this sounds so good right now, especially since it's lunch time and I'm staring at 2 sad-looking rice cakes in front of me right now. This sounds like a great healthy weeknight option that's super easy to reheat once Asheley gets home from those late night shifts!

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09/23/2013 5:13pm

yeah this dish is super easy to reheat. I normally finish it off for lunch if there is any little bit left. Rice cakes do sound pretty sad...but they do leave lots of room for dinner :)

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08/27/2014 12:46pm

our progress in opening

09/23/2013 7:42pm

This is such great inspiration for changing up the usual weeknight meal -- I welcome these sorts of ideas with enthusiasm. It's funny, you would think that working around food all the time, you would never run out of ideas but it's just not true. I have many nights where I'm twirling in circles in search of something new and simple and this zucchini gratin would absolutely fit the bill. Plus, it looks positively delicious! (feels like a guilty pleasure while being full of good-for-you ingredients ;-). Love the photo of the cutting board with the delicious juices from the tomatoes running off...

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09/23/2013 7:55pm

It is really hard planning out dinner every night....I must confess there are plenty of nights I call my husband to pick up take-out on the way home too!!! There are times we just need a break, right :) He saw that picture of the tomatoes and said, "Wow, what did you slaughter today"..hehe

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09/15/2014 4:08am

Delicious and awesome cookies, Really having great taste for life. Thanks for giving me these tasty ideas, I love cooking in free time. I will enjoy these at home in holidays with my family.

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