Zucchetta Gratinate al Forno (Baked Trombincino Gratin)

Zucchetta Gratinate al Forno (Baked Trombincino Gratin)
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vegetable gratin
Simplest hot appetizer ever!

Now, unless you’re hanging out at Italian farmers’ markets (wouldn’t that be great?), you might not have trombincino squash. No worries. We’ll tell you right up front that you can use practically any vegetable, zucchini, onions, peppers, or eggplant, for this traditional Italian appetizer. And, it’s about the easiest appetizer you’ll ever make, too.

We found this recipe in Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, and knew we had to try it. If it really comes from Rome, this recipe could have been in use for thousands of years! Just imagine the people who ate the same appetizer you can make today.

Zucchetta Gratinate al Forno (Baked Trombincino Gratin)

Yield: 4 servings

Zucchetta Gratinate al Forno (Baked Trombincino Gratin)


  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbs oregano
  • 2 Tbs grated Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, or Parmesan
  • Neck from 1 trombincino squash, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oregano, and grated cheese. Set aside.

Place squash slices in a large bowl. Toss with salt. Add 2 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat.

Place rounds on prepared baking sheet so that they touch. Sprinkle liberally with breadcrumb mixture and drizzle with an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Cover with foil or another piece of parchment.

Bake 30 minutes, remove covering, and continue to bake 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.


Ingredient discussion:

trombincino squash
Trombincino squash is like zucchini when young, but like butternut if it’s allowed to mature.

As we said above, use any vegetable(s) that you think is good. We recommend using a strongly- flavored cheese; you’re not using a lot, and you want it to stand out. We’d really recommend a nice Pecorino Romano. We make our breadcrumbs, but store-bought will be fine, and, of course, add other spices and herbs if you wish.

Procedure in detail:

We don’t think this really needs to have the procedure described in detail, but we’ll show you some photos, anyway.

making coating
The coating is a simple mix of bread crumbs, herbs, and cheese.
toosing squash in salt and oil
Simply toss in salt first, then add the olive oil. That way, the salt sticks to the vegetables.
vegetable gratin ready for the oven
A drizzle of oil will help the bread crumbs stick to the squash.
vegetable gratin
After baking, the vegetables will be very tender, and coated with tasty bread crumbs.

We’ll say these are worth four stars. They’re easy enough that, on the worth-it scale, they could be a five; however, we think that, as the recipe stands, they could use just a bit more cheese in the coating. And maybe some more spices, too.

Worth the trouble?

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