Zucchini Parmigiana with Fresh Pesto

This light meal is quick to prepare but delivers big-time on taste.

Zucchini Parmigiana with Fresh Pesto

While in the province of Lecce, Italy, on one of our recent trips, Vivienne, our friend Simone and I were invited to sample some delectable Pugliese dishes at Fabio’s restaurant in the town of Zollino. Fabio offered us some local antipasti and wine to match, after which he recommended the rest of the meal. There wasn’t a written menu anywhere in sight. This parmigiana was one of several wonderful dishes that we ate. When you buy zucchini, make sure that you look for firm, small vegetables with no bruising on the skin.

Time: 50 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchini, sliced about 1cm thick
  • 1 egg
  • flour, for coating
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled and sliced
  • 20g pecorino, grated

Basil and ricotta pesto:

  • 250g ricotta
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 1 handful fresh rocket
  • 40ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

For the basil and ricotta pesto, put all the ingredients in a food processor, season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, add a splash of warm water and process until smooth. Set aside.

In a saucepan of boiling salted water, par-boil the zucchini for 2–3 minutes then drain well. Pat them dry with paper towel.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Coat the zucchini slices first in the flour and then dip them in the egg.

In a wide frying pan over medium heat, fry the zucchini in the olive oil, for about 5 minutes on each side.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a 20cm square or round baking dish, place a layer of zucchini slices, followed by half the basil and ricotta pesto, half the sliced boiled egg and half the grated pecorino. Continue layering the zucchini, pesto, egg and pecorino finishing with grated pecorino on top. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Finish under a hot grill for 8–10 minutes until golden.

Recipe taken from Sharing Puglia by Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak

A few simple ingredients are all you need to taste the sublime flavours of Puglia. Puglia is the secret that Italians have kept to themselves. Nestled in the heel of Italy, in between the blue hues of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, Puglia’s scenery is legendary: villages perched on limestone sea cliffs, quaint fishing towns with cobbled lanes and whitewashed houses, and silver-green olive groves filled with gnarled, ancient trees. But the food of Puglia is the most legendary of all. Blessed with year-round sun, Puglia is a produce paradise brimming with fruit orchards, vegetable fields, the freshest seafood and the best olive oil in all of Italy.

You can purchase Sharing Puglia at cooked.com.

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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