5 – 6 zucchini (courgettes), sliced about 1 cm ( ½ in) thick
flour for coating
80 ml (2 ½ fl oz/ 1/3 cup) olive oil
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
30 grams (1 oz/ 1/3 cup) grated pecorino
Basil and ricotta pesto
500 grams (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) ricotta
6 – 8 basil leaves
2 handfuls of fresh rocket (arugula)
80 ml (2 ½ fl oz/ 1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
On a wintry night in Lecce, on one of our recent trips, Vivienne, our friend Simone and I were invited to sample some delectable Pugliese dishes at Fabio’s restaurant in Zollino. Fabio offered us some local antipasti and wine to match, after which he recommended the rest of the meal. A written menu was nowhere in sight. This parmigiana was one of numerous wonderful dishes that we ate that night. Make sure when you buy zucchini (courgettes) that you look for firm, small vegetables with no bruising on the skin.
For the basil and ricotta pesto, put all the ingredients in a food processor, season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, add a splash of warm water and process until smooth. Set aside.
In a saucepan of boiling salted water, par-boil the zucchini for 2–3 minutes then drain well. Pat them dry with paper towel. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Coat the zucchini slices first in the flour and then dip them in the egg.
In a wide frying pan over medium heat, fry the zucchini in the olive oil, for about 5 minutes each side.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
In a 20 cm (8 in) square or round baking dish, place a layer of zucchini slices, followed by half the basil and ricotta pesto, half the sliced boiled egg and half the grated pecorino. Continue layering the zucchini, pesto, egg and pecorino finishing with grated pecorino on top. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Finish under a hot grill (broiler) for 8–10 minutes until golden.