Have you ever grown zucchini or yellow squash in your garden? If you have you know that by mid-summer you are begging people to take it, perhaps even stuffing a few in your neighbor’s mailbox or dropping bags on the unsuspecting doorsteps of your friends and family. I must admit that neither vegetable excites me much and I rarely buy them, except to make the occasional loaf of chocolate zucchini bread. However, for me, texture has just as much to do with liking a food as taste. And what I think I really don’t like about zucchini or yellow squash is the mushy texture they take on when cooked. If you subscribe to this blog, you saw that I shared a recipe for pickling thinly sliced zucchini (along with several other veggies) at the beginning of this month. Playing around with all those thinly sliced vegetables got me thinking about layers and casseroles and inspired me to come up with a zucchini/squash dish that I would like.
The important thing about layered dishes is that you want the layers to compliment and balance each other out. Since zucchini and yellow squash are fairly bland I knew that I needed a layer that would add a lot of flavor. Enter ricotta cheese and goat cheese as a tasty vehicle for herbs and lemon zest. And then for good measure, I decided to throw potatoes into the mix. They actually pair together quite nicely with the vegetables and add a bit more structure and texture to the layers.
This dish is a great side for potlucks and barbecues, and can be served warm or cold. It also makes a tasty brunch dish. You can make it the day before and then just warm it in the oven before serving, because we all know that casseroles are often best as leftovers.
Making the dish is pretty straightforward. I made this in an 8×8 inch dish because we are just a family of 3. But you could easily double it and put it in a 9×13 inch dish. Slicing all the veg is half the work, and that is easily done with the slicer attachment. The plastic whisking bowl whips together the cheese mixture quickly and then all that is left is building the casserole.
As you are adding the layers, gently press down every now and then to ensure that everything fits.
Since the cheese mixture is rather wet, I tented and loosely covered with aluminum foil so the top wouldn’t 1) stick to the aluminum foil 2) dry out.
Like a lot of casseroles, you need to let this one sit a little bit before digging in.
Check out this video for detailed instructions on using the slicer/shredder attachment.
Summer Squash and Potato Casserole
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
1 1/4 pound trimmed zucchini and/or yellow squash, washed
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed clean
10 ounces goat cheese
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
zest 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 375° F.
Set up the Ankarsrum base with the slicer attachment. Place a large bowl underneath to catch the sliced vegetables. With the Ankarsrum set on high speed (6 o’clock) feed the zucchini, squash and potatoes through the attachment. Set aside.
Place the plastic whisking bowl with the single wire whisks on the Ankarsrum mixer. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and beat on medium speed (3 o’clock) just until blended, approximately 30 seconds.
Place 1/3 of the potato slices into the bottom of the prepared pan. Lightly salt and pepper. Top with 1/3 of the zucchini/squash slices, lightly salt and pepper, and then top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Continue layering 1/3 of each ingredient at a time, making sure to salt and pepper vegetables layers and end with cheese mixture.
Tent a large piece of foil and loosely cover top of casserole. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes until top is beginning to brown.
Let cool 15 minutes and then serve.
Yield: 6-8 servings