Sure, I could have chopped up vegetables, roasted them in the oven, and tossed them in marinara sauce and mozzarella. I’m sure it would have tasted, well, fine. However, I was not in the mood for fine. I was in the mood for fun. Fun with vegetables, which in the case of this dish, equates to playing with my food. What would happen if I roasted slices of eggplant and squash…and then stacked them? With–wait–fresh mozzarella between the layers, melted by a heaping spoonful of marinara sauce. Now, that sound just grand.
That little red rubber brush is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets (yes, I’m stretching the term ‘gadget’ in this instance). If you are seeking an extra kick, sprinkle red pepper flakes over the vegetables after brushing them lightly with olive oil.
The zucchini and squash are not large enough to create their own layer, so I overlapped them slightly, like so.
Italian Roasted Vegetable Stacker
1 large eggplant
8 oz. fresh Mozzarella
15 oz. can of unseasoned, crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of minced onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste, fresh basil for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degree F. Spray 2-3 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a medium-sized pot, combine the crushed tomatoes and seasonings. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Wash and slice eggplant, zucchini, and squash into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Array on baking sheets and brush lightly with olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
- While vegetables are roasting, slice fresh Mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices.
- Remove vegetables from oven, and while warm, stack in the following order: Eggplant, zucchini/squash (these can overlap on single layer, especially if the pieces are small) mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini/squash, mozzarella.
- Top vegetable stacker with simmering marinara sauce.
- Garnish with fresh basil, and serve.
Caution: The “stack” may droop once the cheese melts. Eat it quickly!