Have you had your fill of zoodles and sautéed zucchini this summer? Been there, felt that.
Which is why we were so delighted to score another idea to put surplus squash to great use. And since it's Ina-approved, we already know it's going to be amazing! Once we spotted the fan reviews, including "Made this countless times. This is now my go-to recipe for zucchini. Love it," and "So fresh and different than the run of the mill veggie sides. Ina for the win as always," we knew this quick and easy side dish was definitely making an appearance on at least one of our dinner menus this week.
The aforementioned side was originally published in her book Cooking for Jeffrey (buy it: $17.68, Amazon) and demonstrated on an episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro that aired on Food Network this weekend that "is all about incredible farm-to-table food," Garten says to introduce the show. "All fabulous, and all from the farm stand," and thanks to Garten's recent Hamptons travel guide, we know exactly which farm stands she's speaking about!
Getty Images / NBC / Yulia Maslova
The centerpiece of the episode's menu is a showy Rosemary Rack of Lamb with Easy Tzatziki, but what really stood out to us from the recipe lineup were the summery sides, including Fresh Corn Pancakes, Tuscan Tomato and Bread Salad and especially the perfectly timed Parmesan Roasted Zucchini. (summer squash is so ubiquitous in early August that August 8 was actually declared "National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day"? Seriously.)
"I'm taking zucchinis that are kind of on the small side; about 6 to 8 ounces each. Cut off the ends, then cut it in half lengthwise," Garten explains as she begins to prep the simple side dish. "With a small spoon, take out the seeds because they tend to be a little watery. Then we're going to make a panko crumb filling with fresh herbs that's going to fill the cavities."
That's all because zucchini is fairly mild in flavor—Garten admits that it's "kind of bland"—so the fresh herbs and spices can transform the versatile squash to match any entree.
Place the scooped squash "boats" onto a sheet pan, brush the interior side with good olive oil (Ina loves Olio Santo Olive Oil; buy it: $19.95 for 500 milliliters, Amazon), flip them over and season the skin side with salt. Roast for about 12 minutes, or until tender yet slightly firm when you poke the flesh with a knife.
As those cook, toss together the bread crumb blend: In a medium bowl, combine a few cloves of minced garlic, chopped parsley ("I use flat leaf parsley, but if you have curly parsley, that will work too," Garten says), julienned fresh basil, grated Parmesan, a pinch of salt, a few cracks of black pepper and panko bread crumbs (such as Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs; buy it: $1.59 for 8 ounces, Target).
"Panko bread flakes are Japanese. They just have more texture than regular bread crumbs," Garten explains.
Stir to combine, flip the roasted zucchini boats back over, and add a heaping spoonful of the panko mixture into the well in the center of each squash. Bake for about 10 minutes more until the panko is "really nice and browned and crisp," she says.
That's all it takes to bring this stress-free side to the table! If you have about 15 minutes to dedicate to hands-on time and six ingredients on hand, you have everything you need to follow Garten's lead with this Parmesan Roasted Zucchini recipe. We'll let you decide whether or not your neighbors are lucky enough to find a stuffed squash or two on their doorstep!