Vegetable and meat casserole is a flavorful, easy, and economical dish that you will cook over and over, and your family will simply love. In this version I use turkey, but ground chicken, beef, pork, or veal would work just as well; be sure to adjust the cooking time if you make the switch. If you do not have the time to bake it, just cook vegetable and meat casserole a little longer on top of the stove and it will become a delicious dressing for pasta. This is a satisfying dish to serve for a gathering. It’s a one-pot balanced meal, with meat and vegetables; just flank with some potatoes, rice, or Italian polenta. It’s more of a winter dish really, but it can be good on a not so hot summer night as well, to go maybe with a fresh mixed salad.
6 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1 pound zucchini, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ cups white wine
2 fresh bay leaves
1¾ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced , (¼ inch thick or less)
8 ounces low–moisture mozzarella, shredded
1 grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the zucchini is tender, then remove vegetables to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. Cook and stir the turkey until it is crumbled and browned, about 4 minutes. Then clear a space in the pan and add the tomato paste. Let it toast for a minute, then stir it into the turkey. Add the wine and bay leaves, bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine is reduced and saucy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onions and zucchini.
Toss the potato slices with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt. In a medium bowl, toss together the two cheeses. To assemble, butter a large oval baking dish (4 quart size). Layer the potatoes in the bottom, and sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Layer all of the turkey mixture, then all of the remaining grated cheese. Cover with foil (making sure it -doesn’t touch the cheese), and bake on the bottom rack until bubbly around the edges, about 20 minutes. Uncover vegetable and meat casserole, and bake until the top is browned and crusty, about 15 minutes more.