My mother was an excellent cook who taught me a great deal as she cooked from scratch. Today, both my hubby and I enjoy cooking.
- 1 eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 shallot or green onion
- 1 Polish or Italian sausage
- 1 can (28 oz / 793 g) canned diced tomatoes
- 1 can (8 oz / 227 g) tomato sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- Some good crusty bread to accompany the meal
All one needs after washing and drying the vegetables is a large cutting board, a sharp knife, and a lidded ovenproof casserole dish large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Foil can also be used in place of a lid if desired.
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- Start by slicing the zucchini in approximately 1/4 inch pieces.
- Slice the green peppers into strips or dice them. It all depends upon the final look you wish to have. All of these ingredients are going to be cooked in the oven for a total of an hour and a half, so they will all soften and be combined. Therefore the ultimate size of the pieces does not have to be that exact. Beginning chefs can easily make this dish!
- Cube the eggplant leaving the skin. The skin is where many of the nutrients come from in the case of eggplants.
- Then dice the shallot finely chopping it.
- After putting all of the fresh vegetables into the casserole dish, slice the sausage as you did the zucchini.
- Add this as well as the canned tomatoes (with all of the juice) and the tomato sauce as well as the seasonings of thyme and salt and pepper to the casserole dish.
- Mix thoroughly and put the lid on and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
- After one hour of baking, take the lid off of the casserole dish and sprinkle a third of a cup of Parmesan cheese over the top and put back in the oven with the cover off to continue baking for another half hour.
By now, your house or apartment or wherever you live should be smelling heavenly! If your windows are open, you just might be having neighbors knocking on your door, wishing to be invited to join you for a meal.
Fortunately, this makes quite a sizable amount, and with a good loaf of crusty bread, this can feed many hungry people. The sliced or torn bread is good for sopping up the tasty juices that form from this combination of ingredients.
No Top Chef Skills Needed!
One need not have the cooking skills of a top chef to be able to make this simple casserole dish. Nor is it necessary to have a wealth of a Bill Gates to be able to purchase the easily acquired ingredients to assemble and create this dish.
My husband created it one year when my mother, niece and I were on our annual summer vacation. I never worried about having to prepare meals in advance leaving frozen portions for him to thaw and eat while I was gone because he loves to cook and is quite excellent at doing so.
My hubby was in the grocery store picking up a few needed things on his way home from work one evening, and as he was perusing the vegetable aisle, he spotted an excellent looking eggplant—this started thoughts of various ways he could prepare it. Adding a zucchini and green bell pepper, he kept rolling his grocery cart until he got to the section where sausage is available for sale. Ideas began forming in his mind, and he knew that we always keep staples at home.
This recipe that he concocted made it into our "tried and true" recipe folder, and we have enjoyed it many times since its creation many years ago.
The nice thing about this casserole dish is that ingredients can be altered to suit different tastes. A different type of sausage, for instance, or different herbs would lend different flavor profiles to this dish. Instead of a shallot, a little bit of onion or even some garlic would be nice. Don't be afraid to be creative with what you have in your pantry or when you are strolling the grocery store aisles when it comes to this recipe. If you have homegrown tomatoes, use those in place of the canned.
This easy to make casserole freezes well. Just thaw, heat and serve to enjoy it another time.
© 2012 Peggy Woods