Have you ever had a Philly-style tomato pie? It’s pretty rockin. The bottom is this a thick, chewy pizza crust, golden and shining with olive oil. And the top is this thick, rich, tomato sauce….ugh, soooo good. Obviously I can’t eat it any more, because of my dumb wheat allergy thing.
side note- I actually do have a chewy GF pizza crust recipe tucked away, but it’s a thin crust and I’m not ready to break it out on the blog just yet.
Anyways, I made this absolute bastardized version of Philly tomato pie. I actually feel bad calling it tomato pie at all, because really the only thing that they have in common in the sauce. Oh but what a sauce it is. It tastes so so much like the real thing….perhaps because it is the real thing. It’s a recipe from the great Kenji Alt-Lopez, James Beard award winner and foodie lord. So you know it’s good. I made a few personal tweaks, but yeah, it’s pretty much his sauce.
Okay. Let’s talk about the bottom of this. For practical purposes, I will call it a crust, though it’s anything but. It’s far more akin to a creamy dreamy risotto, all but melting in your mouth. It’s made of rice and zucchini (holla overgorwn zucchini crop) and a few other things, onion and such. All you do is grate/spiralize up some nice, firm zucchini. Don’t get those nasty spongy ones. Squeeze all the excess moisture from those squashies, and then mix it up with some pre-cooked rice.
Press that zucchini-rice mix into an oven-safe skillet and toss it in the oven. While it’s baking, make that sauce. Your kitchen will smell like a mom-n-pop pizzeria. After the sauce is done, spread it over the the crust-not-crust and return it to the oven. Get your oven mitts ready because the handle of the skillet will be hot, obvs. Serve this baby up with a cool, crunchy salad and a jammy glass of red wine. Dig in, kids.
Zucchini Tomato Pie
zucchini rice crust
- 3 1/2 lbs zucchini
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 1/2 tsp microplane garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped white onion
- aquafaba from 1 can of white beans (if non-vegan, you may use an egg)
for the sauce:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
- one shallot, thinly sliced
- a 28 oz can or whole peeled tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp sugar
- Spiralize the zucchini (or grate it). Place it in a cloth and squeeze squeeze squeeze out all the excess moisture. After you are done removing all the water, the zucchini should weigh about 1 3/4 – 2 lbs.
- Preaheat oven to 400
- Combine the zucchini with the white rice, garlic, onion, and aquafaba. Add a little salt to taste.
- Press zucchini mix into a 12″ oven-safe skillet and bake for 40 minutes
- While the zucchini mix is baking, start the sauce. Warm the olive oil over medium heat till shimmering.
- Add the garlic, shallot, red pepper, and oregano, and cook until soft and fragrant….it will take about 60-90 seconds
- Crush up the tomatoes in a food processor, and pour into the pan. Add the bay leaf and the sugar. Lower heat to med-low.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the 40 minutes of the zucchini bake is up.
- Add some salt to the sauce to taste.
- Spoon the sauce smoothly over the zucchini-rice mix, return to oven for an additional 20 minutes.
- Garnish with basil leaves and vegan cheese if desired
- Serve with love.
Sauce from Kenji Lopez-Alt