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A fail safe celebration of vegetables. Tomatoes, squash, onions and handfuls of chopped basil – a summer dish to conjure with. The dish benefits from being completed well ahead of time and reheated at the last moment – always a virtue when you want to be with your friends.

  • Olive oil.
  • 3 medium onions chopped.
  • 1 red pepper chopped.
  • Red pepper flakes.
  • 4 cloves elephant garlic.
  • 12 cherry tomatoes.
  • ¼ Sachet of Splenda or pinch of white sugar.
  • 1 ½ lbs zucchini sliced ¼ inches thick.
  • 1 ½ lbs yellow squash sliced as above.
  • 2 cups chopped fresh basil.
  • Sea salt and black pepper (s&bp)
  • 28 oz tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 glass red wine.
  • 1 stick celery chopped.
  • Zest of one orange.
  • Squeeze of tomato paste.
  • 1 cup each of Panko and shaved Parmesan.
  1. Set oven to 425f.
  2. Saute 2 of the chopped onions, 2 of the chopped garlic cloves, the chopped red pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a little olive oil for c 10 minutes, until opaque. Reserve and line the base of an oven dish 12” by 8” adding a pinch of s&bp.
  3. Halve the 12 cherry tomatoes, sprinkle the cut sides lightly with s&bp and a pinch of Splenda (1/4 sachet). Saute cut side down in a little olive oil for 20 minutes over a low heat. You are concentrating the taste and juices. Reserve and cool.
  4. Saute the remaining chopped onion, garlic and celery till opaque. Add the tin of tomatoes, a glass of red wine, squeeze of tomato paste, orange zest, a pinch of chilli flakes and a generous few turns of black pepper. Reduce uncovered over medium heat to a thick sticky sauce – 30 minutes. Reserve.
  5. Whilst the tomato sauce is thickening, slice the zucchini and squash ¼ inches thick and mix with s&bp and 1 cup chopped fresh basil. Add overlapping slices to the oven dish on top of the onion mix. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Take out the hot dish and ladle the reserved thick sauce over the zucchini mix. Spread the cherry tomatoes onto the layer of sauce. Sprinkle with the second cup of chopped fresh basil and finish with a covering of Panko and shredded parmesan.
  7. Raise oven to 450f and bake till brown and bubbling (c20 minutes). Leave to stand and then warm up as needed. 8 servings.