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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Neapolitan Vegetable Cheesecake

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
This is really a vegetable and cheese baked casserole which would make a perfect lunch item along with a salad and some homemade bread or biscuits.

3 cups packed grated zucchini
1 teaspoon salt divided
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup coarse grated carrots
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 pound grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup Panko
5 to 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place in a strainer and let drain 15 minutes. Squeeze out all excess moisture and set aside. In a sauté pan, combine the onion, butter and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté 4 minutes. Then add zucchini, garlic, carrots, flour, basil and oregano. Stir over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, mozzarella and 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Beat well. Add vegetable mixture and blend thoroughly. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and sprinkle some of the Panko on the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven Decorate top with tomato slices dredged in remaining Panko. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes. Turn off oven open door and let cool in oven 15 minutes. Now remove from oven, set on cooling rack, and cool 10 minutes before removing the side of the springform pan and serving.