Photo by Michael Phillips
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 24-ounce jar pasta sauce
Pinch crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim the ends of each zucchini. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into ⅛-inch strips, and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meat, breaking it into small pieces. Drain into a colander. To the same skillet, add olive oil, and saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, and saute an additional minute. Return meat to skillet, and add pasta sauce, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until sauce thickens, about 20–25 minutes. Stir in basil, and remove from heat.
In an 8-inch-by-8-inch casserole dish, spread ½ cup of sauce on the bottom. Layer zucchini slices on top of the sauce. Spread 1 cup meat sauce on top of zucchini, followed by 1 cup mozzarella and ¼ cup Parmesan. Repeat with another layer of zucchini, meat sauce and cheeses. Finish with a layer of zucchini and remaining ½ cup of meat sauce. Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven 25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan, and bake an additional 10–15 minutes or until bubbling on the sides. Remove from oven, and let rest for 15–20 minutes before serving.
Why use kosher salt?
Salt is not a spice or seasoning—it does not impart its own flavor to food. Rather, salt is a flavor enhancer, bringing out the natural flavor tendencies of a food.
Recipes often specify the use of kosher salt, as opposed to more familiar table salt. Chefs recommend it because it is easy to handle and works well for a variety of uses. It’s an affordable, healthy alternative to table salt and can be used in all phases of the cooking process—for pre-seasoning foods, for use during cooking or for adding a finishing element to a dish.
Table salt has a finer texture than kosher salt. Because kosher salt has a coarser texture, you don’t need to use as much of it when measuring into a recipe.
Table salt contains additives, which some cooks choose to avoid. Kosher salt and sea salt do not.
Sea salt, due to the way it is processed, is more expensive than table and kosher salt. It is typically used as a “finishing” salt—sprinkled on food dishes lightly just prior to serving, to enhance natural flavors.
If all you have on hand is table salt, feel free to substitute it in any recipe calling for kosher salt, being careful to adjust the amounts specified to account for different salt textures. Often, when salt is listed in a recipe, you may notice that no amount is specified—just “to taste.” It is more common to see specific salt amounts in baking recipes.