Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Veggie Parmesan

“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This famous quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off keeps running through my head on a regular basis. Let me just give you a slight sneak peek into the last few weeks of my life. Two weeks ago we put our house on the market, just to see what would happen, and ended up selling it a week later. As in ONE WEEK LATER!!! Fortunately our buyers still have a house to sell of their own, and are nice, and are letting us stay there for up to six months so we don’t have to move twice.

At any rate, our once leisurely perusing of homes online as turned into a full on mission complete with a strategic plan, realtor and both wanted and unwanted opinions of friends and family.

The funny thing is I had really only very recently even opened up to the notion of selling our home. Our home that I finally (let me both repeat and stress, finally) got looking just the way I wanted! While my cute husband did have pretty great taste before I moved in….there was still lots of areas for improvement. And just within in the last 2-3 months I finally felt like dusting my hands off and proclaiming, “My work here is done”. Ahhh….God has a funny sense of humor huh? So now, we are full speed ahead, searching for the perfect house. Or pretty decent house. Or just, a house. You know, so we don’t have to be homeless.

So, on top of all that, I had a bachelorette party two weekends ago. Last week I had a mid-term due for my wonderful and super fun statistics class (yes, the sarcasm is pretty thick here) and then was in a wedding last weekend. Add that to working full time and house hunting and well….you get a whole lot of crazy and a whole lack of blogging.

At any rate, just for you, I dug around my photo archives and found a meal that I made fairly recently to share with you. And it’s super yummy! Vegetable Parmesan. But honestly, if it were up to me, I’d call it Vegetable Lasagna. No, there aren’t any noodles, but the layering affect of the veggies seems eerily similar to that of lasagna. And now I am rambling.

I did change this up a bit and I separated the fennel to just one side of the dish. I wasn’t sure how we were going to like the fennel and I knew we would like the squash, which I substituted for fennel on the other side of the dish. And after tasting the finished product we were split. I loved the fennel and Pat pretty much cared less for it. So I am happy I divided the dish so we could both have the parts that we liked.

So, would you like the recipe? Here you go, courtesy of the lovely Giada De Laurentiis, who I would really like to be for a day because she just seems that wonderful to me!

Vegetable Parmesan
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


Olive oil, for drizzling
Non-stick spray
Salt and pepper
1 medium eggplant, cut into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces
2 small yellow squash, sliced into ½ inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thirds
1 orange bell pepper, sliced into thirds
1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
I cup plain bread crumbs


1. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray some non-stick spray in a 13 by 9 inch baking dish.

2. Drizzle the eggplant slices, fennel slices, squash slices and peppers with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill veggies for 3 to 4 minutes each side until softened.

3. Spoon ¾ cup of marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange peppers in single layer on top. Spoon ¾ cup marinara sauce over peppers. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. On half of the pan arrange the fennel and the other half arrange the yellow squash. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Scatter bread crumbs over the cheese and drizzle liberally with oil. Bake until the top is golden and forms a crust, about 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Last Bite: Very good veggie dish. Hearty and filling with rich flavors. I will be making this again for sure. Hopefully in a new kitchen…and hopefully soon!

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