Note: Often, I'll slice the zucchini lengthwise, layering it like lasagna in a larger pan. It's an ideal approach when you're serving a crowd.
About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.
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- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 35 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 15 minutes
- For the Zucchini:
- 2 cups seasoned, Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4”-thick rounds
- Olive oil as needed
- 1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
Combine breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Place eggs in second shallow bowl or pie plate. Working in batches, dip zucchini into egg. Then dunk the slices in the breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly. Transfer coated zucchini to a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. When all pieces are coated, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add as many zucchini slices as fit in a single layer and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining zucchini, adding more oil as necessary between batches.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, bring to a boil and simmer for one minute. Add tomatoes and remaining teaspoon of salt. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease individual crocks or an 8- by 8-inch square baking dish. Place a few tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of baking dish or into individual crocks. Line bottom with breaded zucchini. Top with sauce, followed by a few handfuls of mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat until all of the zucchini is used. Finish with a generous slather of sauce and a shower of additional cheeses.
Place in oven and bake until brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.