I thought I would Italianize this classic Provençal dish by adding mozzarella di bufala, and I am happy I did.
By all means, though, do not feel obligated to use cheese in this dish, as the cheese here is totally optional. If you want a low-carb option, just omit the potatoes. The idea is to use vegetables that are approximately the same size and remember to pack them tightly in the dish, as they will loosen up as they cook.
I decided to use thyme, but you could certainly use herbes de Provence, a combination of thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram and savory. If using dried herbs, use half the quantity in the recipe. Whatever you do, if you follow the instruction below, this dish will be memorable, I guarantee it.
It is a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, chicken or fish.
1-2 yellow zucchini
1-2 green zucchini
4-5 plum tomatoes
5-6 small potatoes
2 small onions, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves
1 pack mozzarella di bufala
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, without colouring, about 7 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Take the pan off the heat and reserve.
- Cut all the vegetables the same thickness, about 2 mm thick, and place in a large bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the thyme or mixed herbs, and two tablespoons olive oil. Mix well with your hands until everything is well coated.
- Transfer the cooked onions and garlic to a 9″x9″ ovenproof dish and spread the mixture over the bottom.
- Start putting the chopped vegetables over the onions, very neatly, almost obsessively, in lines, until all the vegetables are used and the dish is tightly packed.
- Drizzle a bit more olive oil on top, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.
- Ten minutes before the end, add the mozzarella on top and just let it melt.
- Wait five minutes before serving.