What to do with all those zucchini, eggplants and tomatoes that are spilling out of the garden? Make Vegetables al Forno, a recipe from the book Cooking with Adrienne!! I am sharing it during the Food For Thought campaign because I believe food connects us in a way nothing else can. The Food For Thought campaign is a grassroots awareness building fundraiser to #EndFTD dementia. My friend and cooking mentor, Adrienne, was diagnosed with FTD dementia 10 years ago. She is now unable to speak, write or cook, but she still loves her food!
You can learn more about this life-altering dementia and support the Food For Thought campaign here:
Adrienne and I thank you for your social, emotional and financial support.
This wonderful Vegetables al Forno dish makes use of all the abundant produce in the late summer. We always made double or triple the amount and froze it for use later. The original recipe appeared in House & Garden magazine in October 1976, but over the years Adrienne and I tweaked and experimented with the flavors and textures so now we consider it ours.
The proportions and ingredients are dependent on what is available in the market. It is important to peel both the tomatoes and peppers. Use a regular potato peeler. If you don’t peel these vegetables, their skins come loose as they cook, which is unappealing in the finished dish. If you have made the sauce for the caneton en papillote, you will have some leftover herb mixture that you can use in this recipe to great effect. If not, make a pesto of the fresh herbs and oil as directed below.
Vegetables al Forno
The proportions and ingredients are dependent on what is available in the market. You can add a cup of ricotta cheese for a richer gratin.
- 1 cup chopped fresh thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, and parsley
- or ½ cup leftover herbs from making Caneton en Papillote
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 to 3 zucchinis, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
- 3 to 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced ½ inch thick
- 1 medium eggplant, stemmed and sliced into long thin strips
- 2 bell peppers, peeled, seeded, and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 red onions, sliced as thin as possible
- 3 medium red-skinned potatoes, sliced thin using a mandolin
- or sliced ¼ inch thick and parboiled for 3 to 4 minutes
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Step 2 In a food processor, process the fresh herbs with 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, enough to make a loose paste.
- Step 3 In a large gratin dish (or foil pan(s) if you want to freeze all or part of the dish), arrange the zucchini on the bottom and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with about a tablespoon of the herb mixture, a third of a cup Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. Continue layering each of the vegetables with the salt, pepper, herb mixture, Parmesan and oil in the order listed (zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, onions, potatoes). Top with breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are golden around the edges. Remove and serve. Alternatively, allow to cool, cover with foil and label before freezing.