Beef and Zucchini Parmigiana
We love pasta dishes, but sometimes we like to look for fresher, more nutrient dense ingredients than pasta, even though it is delicious. Lean and light is the name of the game with this hearty and healthy dish.
Fresh from the garden, Summer zucchini and lean ground beef are delicious with an intensely, flavorful tomato sauce. Besides the traditional dried herbs, we added Fennel Seeds for a warm, anise-licorice aroma and a slightly sweet flavor with a camphorous undertone. Did you know that Fennel Seeds can also be chewed as a natural breath freshener?
We have found that the first time people (especially children) try "vegetable pasta" it is does not always have the taste and texture that they would expect. But surprisingly, after one or two dishes of this healthy alternative, they might even prefer it to the high carbohydrate pasta they were originally accustomed to.
No need to bread and fry the zucchini slices. We cut them and put them under the oven broiler for just a few minutes before using them to create layers with meat sauce and Parmesan cheese. Be sure to allow enough time for the sauce to cook and fully develop a rich, sweet flavor.
- 3/4 pounds lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup Dried Shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Flakes
- 2 14.5 oz cans whole tomatoes, no salt added, undrained and chopped
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Dried Mediterranean Oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Sweet Basil
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 1/2 Lbs zucchini
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Add ground beef to a medium skillet over medium heat and cook until brown and cooked through.
- Add shallots, garlic and tomato paste, stir to combine and cook another 4-5 mins.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add Dried Oregano, Sweet Basil, Fennel Seeds, Ground Black Pepper and Sea Salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until sauce is reduced to 4 cups. Stir occaisonally.
- Cut each zucchini in half crosswise and cut each half into 5 lengthwise slices.
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Place zucchini slices on a baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- Broil zucchini 6 minutes on each side.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into a 13"x9"x2" baking dish.
- Place 1/2 of the zucchini slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly.
- Layer another 1/3 of the sauce on top of zucchini slices.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese.
- Layer remaining zucchini then remaining sauce and cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.