Makes 6 servings
To serve: Papa Vince Busiate Pasta
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the large end of the zucchini into 12 slices, each about 3 to 31/2-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Slice 6 more slices from the zucchini, each about 2 to 21/2-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. (Or alternately, slice each 8-ball zucchini into about 4 to 5 slices, reserving tops and bottoms for another use)
Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch or similar sized casserole. Arrange the 6 largest zucchini slices in a single layer over top of the sauce. Spread each slice with a generous amount of the cheeze. Sprinkle each slice with a dash of PAPA VINCE sea salt. Top with 6 more zucchini slices and spread each with generous amount of the cheeze. Sprinkle each slice with a dash of PAPA VINCE sea salt. Top each stack with a smaller zucchini slice, and spoon about 2 teaspoons of marinara sauce over the top of each napoleon. Tent with foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
While the napoleons bake, make the bread crumb topping. Put the bread chunks, Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon PAPA VINCE sea salt into a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer the bread crumbs to a small bowl. Add the PAPA VINCE EVOO and stir to thoroughly coat the bread crumbs.
Remove the napoleons from the oven, uncover and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and zucchini is tender, checking often and adding a bit more marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish, if it is becoming dry.
Put the casserole on a wire rack and let cool 5 to 7 minutes. Serve 1 napoleon per person, surrounded by pasta, quinoa or brown rice with a bit of the sauce from the bottom of the casserole spooned over the top. We served it on Papa Vince Busiate Pasta, as shown in the photo.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS (about 2 cups)
Put all of the ingredients into a high-performance blending appliance in the order listed. Process until very smooth in texture, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down the sides. The cheeze will be thick. Covered tightly and refrigerated, the cheeze will keep up to 2 days.
This is a typical dish from Messina which incorporates so many of the fresh ingredients of Sicilian cuisine. Recipes in Sicily vary so much by cities and regions and Vitina told me that despite visiting her family in Sicily so many times, this was the first time she ever experienced this dish. Her family is from the Eastern side and the food is different! This is a very popular recipe and is a creative way to make an eggplant spaghetti sandwich covered in rich tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil.