savoury delights

courgettes in italian mode

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We are still in Northern Spain … & there is a great offer of courgettes!

So I remembered my post for courgettes in soffrito – no sooner said than done … (Although it’s an Italian recipe it’ll work fine in Spain.)

Some time ago … my better half & I planned to do a roasted chicken … & I meditated on what to cook as a partner to the meat. Both of us opted for some vegetables.

One of my latest new members in my cookbook family at that time was Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a basic deep dive into Italian cuisine. I browsed in the book & found a great approach to courgette.

At 1st I adjusted the amounts of the ingredients in the recipe because I don’t like leftovers, but … The crucial ingredient came out to be canned Italian tomatoes. I decided to use a whole can (although small). That’s why in the end I needed about a kilo of courgette. (For 2 people that’s a lot! However, I read that you may store the courgette mess once baked for whatever …)

Finally we had a generous side dish each for our roasted chicken. Some days later we reheated the courgette mess in the microwave & added it to some cooked pasta. All was mixed thoroughly & a thick layer of shredded Gruyère covered everything … Some minutes later a bubbling casserole w/ melted cheese emerged from the hot oven!

So with the slim green courgette  in sight I started preparing a soffrito w/ tomatoes.

What do we need for this basic mess?

It’s not more than:

  • canned tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • flat parsley
  • olive oil.

We start w/ mincing the flat parsley as well as cutting the courgette in slices.

We chop & dice the onion & add some cloves of garlic.

We start frying the onion in olive oil until the onion is soft. Next step: pressing the garlic into the fried onion mess & frying somewhat more.

Finally we add the parsley & fry softly some more. (Actually this is the standard soffrito!)

At this point in time: don’t forget to preheat your oven to 160° C w/ fan!

Then we add the canned tomatoes & their juice & mash them – and fry everything for some more minutes.

The courgette slices march in the pan …

… & are mixed w/ the tomato soffrito until all courgette slices are covered.

The courgette slices are still raw!

Everything is transferred into a overproof casserole … (The casserole should be large enough for the vegetables – it’s about a kilo courgette!) Then it marches in the preheated oven for about 45 min.

During the oven session the courgette will lose lots of liquid. The liquid should have vanished almost completely when the baking session is over. The courgette won’t get mushy, but stay as slices although the slices are soft & melt on your tongue.

The courgette are ready for serving now. It’s absolutely delicious to add some fresh basil.

If you use your oven for roasted meat you may add the casserole filled w/ courgette about 45 min before the meat will be ready.

You may also prepare the courgette in advance & reheat for some minutes in oven just before the meat is ready.


courgettes in Italian mode
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Servings: 4
  • 5 courgettes (about 1000 g)
  • 1 small white onion (about 75 g after trimming)
  • 3-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can peeled Italian tomatoes (about 250 g)
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (depending on size)
  • 3 tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh basil – optional
how to:
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C w/ fan.
  • Clean, peel, trim, cut, dice, mince, press the vegetables & the herbs: we’ll need slices of courgettes, diced onion, presses garlic, minced parsley.
  • In a pan add olive oil & onion & fry softly for about 5 min.
  • Add garlic & fry softly for another 5 min.
  • Add parsley & fry softly for another 5 min.
  • Add tomatoes, mash them & fry everything for about 10 min.
  • Add salt 6 pepper to taste.
  • Add the courgette & mix until all slices are covered w/ the tomato mess.
  • Put it in a ovenproof casserole & let it bake for about 45 min; all the liquid (of the courgette!) shall have vanished into thin air. The courgette slices shall be soft, but firm & the liquid shall have reduced to a thick tomato mess.
  • Sprinkle fresh basil on top just before serving.
Courgette: I used plain, dark green courgette – not the giant ones, not the spherical one, not the yellow ones or whatever. I just cut them in slices of about 1 cm.
White onion: You may also use a milder yellow onion.
Olive oil: Adjust the amount as you like it. If you plan to add just cooked pasta to the baked courgettes more olive oil might be fine. If you think of roasted meat as partner less olive oil is better.
Garlic: Adjust garlic as you like it.
Servings: It’s a fair side dish for 4 people – even for 6 people if there are any further side dishes e. g. potatoes or whatever.
You may prepare the courgettes in advance & reheat in the oven (maybe together w/ your roasted meat) or in a microwave.
The courgettes are fine in the fridge for at least 4 days.