SEASONALITY: ALL YEAR
– 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
– 1 ½ teaspoons salt
– 1 tsp olive oil
– ½ large onion, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
– 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
– black pepper, to taste
– 3 medium, 8 ounces each zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
– 1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta
– ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
– 1 large egg
– 16 oz 4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a medium saucepan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked, drain in a colander to remove any fat.
Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions for about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, and add tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water; the sauce should be thick. Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked; salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot the excess moisture with a paper towel.
Preheat a gas grill or grill pan to medium-high, and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, until slightly browned. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture. Preheat the oven to 375F.
Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg in a medium bowl. Stir well.
In a 9×12 casserole, spread 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Top with remaining zucchini and sauce in the last layer, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the foil and bake for 20 minutes (to dry up the sauce), then place the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake until melted, 10 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all ingredients are used up. Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.