Grilled Summer Squash Parmesan
When summer squash is abundant, serve this cheesy vegetarian dish as an alternative to eggplant Parmesan. On hot summer days, serve it at room temperature.
- 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed but left whole
- 1 can (28 oz./875 g) diced tomatoes
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 2 lb. (1 kg) yellow summer squash, trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices 1/3 inch (9 mm) thick
- 12 oz. (340 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt, raise the heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the garlic, and stir in about half of the basil. Set aside.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
Arrange the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Grill the squash, turning once, until lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish and spread about 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange one-fourth of the squash in the dish. Top with one-third of the mozzarella slices and a few pieces of basil. Cover with another 1/4 cup sauce. Make 2 more layers of squash, mozzarella, basil and sauce. Top with a final layer of squash and sauce and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake, uncovered, until the juices are bubbling and the top is browned, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011)