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Parmigiana di zucchine (Courgette parmigiana)

Today’s Italian translation has been requested by Jenny from Aukland, New Zealand. It's not a family secret, but a recipe that she found on the Giallo Zafferano website (a website in the Italian language dedicated to cooking).

The original recipe uses the term 'q.b' for such items as salt. The correct English translation is an equally confusing 'q.s' which is the Latin term 'Quantum Satis'. Assuming you need some help with your latin, it means 'the amount which is enough' or in this case in means 'to taste'. So add enough for your personal taste.

Presentation

Some prefer it when it’s still steaming hot, others at room temperature, but one thing is for sure: it tastes even better the day after! Nothing compares to a good parmigiana! If you are used to the more traditional version of this dish, made with deep-fried aubergines, you will certainly want to try the courgette parmigiana, which is probably the most famous variant of this great Mediterranean recipe. An authentic taste with an excellent result that will certainly tingle your taste buds. The courgette parmigiana is perfect for any occasion and can be served as a starter, a single main dish or as a second summer dish... without a doubt, everybody will love it! And if you just can’t get enough, you can also try the vegetable and parmesan cheese white parmigiana! A ‘white’ version of this succulent dish can also be made with fish in yet other variant, the anchovy parmigiana!

Ingredients for a 11x7” oven dish - Courgettes 700g, Parmesan cheese 60g, Mozzarella cheese 250g, Flour 00 for coating q.s., Peanut oil for frying q.s., Black pepper q.s., Basil q.s.

for the tomato sauce - Tomato passata 700g, Onion ¼, Extra virgin olive oil q.s., Basil q.s., Salt q.s.

Preparation

The first step for preparing a courgette parmigiana is making the sauce. Pour a little oil in a pan, add the finely chopped onion (1) and let it brown on a low flame. Then add the tomato puree (2) and some water; add a sprinkle of salt and cook for about 40 minutes on a low flame, stirring frequently. Once cooked, add a few hand-torn basil leaves (3). 
In the meantime wash, blunt (4) and cut the courgettes in slices of approximately 5mm with a mandoline (5) or a knife. Then heat some oil in a large pan and, while the oil temperature reaches 170°, toss the courgettes in flour (6) so that both sides are covered (7). As soon as the oil reaches the right temperature (check with a cooking thermometer), soak in a few slices at a time (8) and fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Then drain (9) and lay on a tray covered with paper towel (10) to remove any excess oil. Proceed with all other slices and add a little salt to taste. Then cut the mozzarella cheese in small cubes (11) and put aside. As soon as the sauce is ready, get a 11x7” rectangular tray and pour some tomato sauce across the bottom, using a the back of a spoon (12). 
Now lay the courgettes neatly, side by side, slightly overlapping them (13), cover with a thick layer of tomato sauce, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (14), cubes of mozzarella cheese and pepper (15). 
Repeat the same procedure, but this time lay the courgettes horizontally (16), then add the sauce, the mozzarella, the parmesan and a sprinkle of pepper (17). Lay the last layer of courgettes vertically again (18) and complete with the remaining sauce and cubes of mozzarella cheese. Dust with parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of pepper (19) and cook in a pre-heated convection oven at 200° for 25-30 minutes. Then take out parmigiana (20), add a few basil leaves (21) and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving! 

How to preserve

The courgette parmigiana can be served lukewarm or cold, and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days. 
Alternatively you can freeze it after cooking in the oven and cooling down. You can also cut portions in advance and defrost it in the fridge before heating up.

Tip

To obtain a lighter version of this dish, use grilled courgettes instead. 

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