How To Tuesday: Dinner’s Ready! Verdure Gratinate al Forno (Vegetable Gratin)
When you have a busy schedule from morning ‘till evening, it’s difficult to get dinner on the table without a little stress. For me, the kids get off the bus and it seems like a high speed chase until bedtime. Homework, after school activities and mini meltdowns (both them and me) make it hard for a healthy, family dinner to happen seamlessly.
One way, however, I have found to make the nighttime shift a bit easier is to prep as much as I can during the day so that when six o’clock rolls around, dinner is on the table and everyone is able to enjoy a delicious meal. I love meals that can be prepped and sometimes, even cooked ahead of time so that at mealtime, a quick pop in the oven is all it takes to get it on the table.
My sister and her husband recently got back from a quick jaunt to Rome (lucky ducks!) and introduced me to a new cookbook, Tasting Rome. As a cookbook fanatic, I scoured the pages looking for something delicious to add to my weekday repertoire. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. Easy, delicious and like most Italian cooking, only a few ingredients that lead to the perfect dish.
What’s even better, you can use a number of vegetables that might have their days numbered in the fridge. I had some zucchini that was screaming to be cooked. Now, the author uses fresh breadcrumbs (golf clap) but if you are running low on time (like me) use some panko. Hurry up and try this, the bus will be rolling up before you know it!
Verdure Gratinate Al Forno, Tasting Rome (slightly adapted, based on what’s in the fridge)
Ingredients (I say, pick and choose to fill up a sheet pan)
Red Bell Peppers
Onions, cut into ½ inch rings
Zucchini, cut lengthwise, ¼ inch slice
Eggplant, cut crosswise itno ¼ inch rounds
1 tablespoon sea salt (I used kosher)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups bread crumbs, seasoned with 2 teaspoons dry oregano and 2 tablespoons grated cheese (parmigiano or pecorino)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On parchment lined baking sheet, toss the vegetables with salt and then ¼ cup olive oil. Layer the bread crumbs on top, at least ¼ inch thick.
Drizzle over the remaining ¼ cup of oil and bank, covered with aluminum foil for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables begin to shrink. *Uncover and continue to bake until the vegetables are soft, 20 to 30 minutes more.
**you can save this step for right before dinner.