Even if you don’t have a garden, you should notice there’s tons, I mean tons of vegetables flooding the grocery stores. There’s nothing like being able to pick your own, or come home with a basket full of fresh, bright vegetables! If you don’t get to pick your own, head to the farmers market, or find locally grown ones. They are your best bet to get real fresh vegetables that haven’t been handled too much. Squash or zucchini loose firmness fast, so don’t pick up more than you can use. Check to make sure they aren’t already soft, you want firm, bright colors, with no discoloration or marks on them. If you can’t use them within a day or two put them in the fridge after washing and drying them completely. For even quicker use, cut them, or slice them and put them into containers so your prep time is cut in half. Same with the peppers. I cut up bell peppers each week and freeze them, when I need some for a recipe I just take out the frozen mixture of 1 of each, red, green, yellow and orange bell pepper.
This dish uses a good handful of bright colorful vegetables, and it’s filling. You can top it with cheese, leave it without and serve it with just about anything. The original recipe called for potatoes, but I left that out and it’s perfect. Isn’t it bright? I love that!
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup of mixed bell peppers ( cut up 1 bell pepper of each, red, green, yellow and orange. Mix together about a cup and set the rest in the fridge or freeze it for later use)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 small zucchini (1/2 pound), sliced on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick
1 medium summer squash
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch baking dish (I used a 9×13 as I used the summer squash, worked just as good!) with olive oil. Layer the summer squash first into the pan; season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, garlic and thyme. Arrange two-thirds of the bell pepper mixture over the squash.Top with the tomatoes and the zucchini; drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining bell pepper mixture and sprinkle with the cheese if using.
2.Cover the casserole with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425°. Uncover the casserole and bake for about 15 minutes longer,or until the vegetables are tender. Serve warm. (Depending on how thick or thin you slice things, or even how tender you like your vegetables adjust the time. Check it halfway and go from there. Don’t cook too long as it’ll just go mushy)
This is the same dish topped with cheese.