Is your garden producing any morning glory tipi takeovers? (I love mine!)
Or how about Zucchinis Of Unusual Size?
Hmmm, yes. Zucchinis Of Unusual Size are a common phenomena with just about anyone who plants a garden. And while I didn’t grow zucchini this season (I’ve got sunburst pattypan and butternut squashes, and pickling cucumbers trailing every which way to thoroughly amuse me) – a young, fellow community gardener has been inundated with so many. And when he asked me on his way out of the garden area, loaded down with 6 or 8 of them – did I want some, I said sure, One! About half the length of a baseball bat and definitely with a wider girth.
What to do with this Z-O-U-S?
Well, I shredded a bunch, and made a very tasty Upside Down Potato and Zucchini Frittata. You might see this in another post soon. 🙂 And then I thought of the delicious grilled zucchini parmesan I’d made awhile back. But I felt like playing with zucchini rounds yesterday, and so … this grilled zucchini sausage pie was born.
Let me show you a few of these luscious steps up close.
You really could fill your pie with whatever your heart desires. I chose a locally made Italian spiced chicken sausage and tomato filling, with lots of chives and basil straight out of the garden.
I also contemplated shaping the sausage filling without cooking it first, sort of a meatloaf type thought, and I may try that next time (probably doubling the baking time, of course.) I also think a pesto ricotta filling would be grand, perhaps with a few feta/steamed spinach stuffed squash blossoms tucked in here and there. This pie turned out really quite delicious, though, no complaints here! And here’s the close up of the top layer being arranged.
The finished dish is really quite striking!
And offers up a just plain Pavlovian response, don’t you think?
Grilled Zucchini Sausage Pie
Makes six servings, or maybe just 4! You decide! For a bulkier pie, double the filling.
- about 1/2 of a three inch wide and 1 foot long zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
- olive oil
- freshly ground pepper and salt
- 1/2 lb. spicy Italian chicken sausage, bulk style
- 1 14.5 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/3 c. packed finely chopped herbs, such as fresh basil and chives
- 1/2 c. cheese, if desired – I used Parmesan
Brush zucchini rounds with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside in a shallow pan or baking sheet to allow moisture to release. Prepare grill (I used an indoor grill pan,) brushed with olive oil. Prepare pie plate (I used a 10 inch deep dish) by brushing with olive oil or with softened butter. Generously pepper the pie plate if you wish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grill zucchini over medium high heat, lifting with tongs and checking at frequent intervals, flipping and allowing both sides equal treatment with the fire, until slices are becoming limp with gorgeous grill marks all over. Arrange, overlapping edges, in a single layer over the bottom and up the sides of your pie plate.
Meanwhile, saute chicken sausage over medium heat in a wide skillet with a skim of olive oil to slick the pan, breaking up the pieces evenly. When beginning to brown, pour in diced tomatoes, stir in tomato paste, and lower heat to medium – medium low. Simmer and allow juices to reduce, stirring in fresh herbs as it cooks. When there are no standing juices in the mixture, turn off heat, and spoon into pie plate, mounding slightly in the center. Sprinkle with cheese if you like. The variations here are endless, just like pizza!
Overlap remaining zucchini slices in a sweet pinwheel pattern, mostly-but-not-quite covering the sausage filling. Bake on center rack of oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbly. If zucchini has exuded more moisture, place a 10 inch pan lid over the pie plate, lift with hot pads, slightly tilt, and pour excess liquid off into a dish. (You could reduce this in a small pan over medium high heat quickly, then drizzle over each serving if you like. It tastes like SUMMER.)
Oh yeah …. Summer …
**I do love the joy of gardening, and I am in such gratitude to see so many: community gardens, street gardens, re-claiming abandoned city lot gardens, the Garden of Eatin’ and Vegetable Connection in Fort Collins, growing vegetables and fruits for the county food bank, and feeding families with excess CSA crops, – all flourishing. My heart is so full, seeing all the young people – our future – immersed in this joy, too. You can grow so much goodness in a small space, and of course too in our hearts. May our gardens and our love spilleth over. May we share all that we cannot use ourselves, paying it forward.
But if you want to take note, in big Garden Country like my old town of Paonia, you may like to heed the advice of those in the know, and roll up your windows and lock your car doors – to ward off stray zucchinis from finding their way into your possession. 🙂 Though – the sneaky, re-gifting game can bring its satisfactions, too, tiptoeing up to doorsteps in the dark of the night. The Night of the Footloose Zucchini.