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Pumpkin, Parma-Style (Zucca Alla Parmigiana)

Pumpkin is a popular vegetable all over Italy and this is a particularly delicious way of cooking it. It is fairly rich, so serve with a light main dish, such as veal escalope or grilled (broiled) lamb and lots of mixed salad.

ingredients

serves 6
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
50 g (2 oz) 2/3 cup Dry breadcrumbs
1 kg (2 lb) Pumpkin flesh, sliced
50 g (2 oz) 4 Tbs Butter
25 g (1 oz) 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

for the sauce

2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
425 g (14 oz) Canned peeled tomatoes
2 Tbs Tomato puree (paste)
1 Tbs Chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs Chopped parsley
1 tsp Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

method

1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion is soft. Stir in the tomatoes and can juice, tomato puree (paste), herbs, sugar and seasoning, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and keep hot.

2. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (Gas Mark 4, 350°F).

3. Put the eggs in one dish and the breadcrumbs in another. Dip the pumpkin slices first in the eggs then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess.

4. Melt the butter in a large frying-pan. Add the pumpkin slices, a few at a time, and fry until they are evenly browned. Transfer the slices to a well-greased ovenproof baking dish. Pour over the sauce and sprinkle over the cheese. Put the dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

5. Remove the dish from the oven and serve at once.

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