Oh so Cheesy Potato, Leek and Zucchina bake

This dish was inspired by my childhood memories in Italy. One of my favourite dishes that mum used to make was a potato and zucchine bake. It was so simple and delicious; she simply put the veg in a baking dish with a load of olive oil, salt and pepper, and let them bake in the oven for a couple of hours. The result was a mushy tasty delight!

So I thought, how can I elevate the dish and still make it easy and tasty? The answer lay in seeing what I had in the fridge that could be combined with the two star ingredients. As stated before, we are great believers in experimenting with food at the Cooking Mummies HQ! So, when I saw a left over leek and a load of cheese (in Italy we put cheese in pretty much everything!), it seemed like a no brainer. I then just had to try out different batches to figure out the right quantities and portions… And presto pronto, the recipe was born! Though we did max out on potatoes to do so… but as we do LOVE the royal spud, it was no great sacrifice!

This is a great dish to prep during the day and then bung in the oven for dinner. It makes a great side dish or you could scoop yourself a bigger portion and have it for your lunch. It’s easy, tasty and cheesy. It also freezes very well, so you could make it in bulk at the weekend if you prefer.

With the arrival of our new babies, we also had to re-think our recipes to feed our toddlers and help wean our little ones. So this recipe is very versatile and can be given to your baby too (just use water instead of stock, due to the high salt intake), and you can blitz your baby’s portion for a smoother mix.

As usual, feel free to experiment with this recipe and see what else you could add to make it extra tasty, or more suitable to your family’s needs. Maybe add a bit of ham or bacon? Or some herbs? Or try different types of cheese? Let us know what you come up with in our feedback section. Have fun with it!

Ingredients – Serves 2 Adults, 1 Toddler and 1 Baby (if served as a side)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

  • 2 Large baking potatoes
  • 1 medium leek (or 1/2 a large one)
  • 1 zucchina
  • 1/2 litre of stock – made with 1 chicken + 1 vegetable stock cube (if you’re planning on giving this to your baby; use the water you boiled the veg in, instead of the stock. Or you could use low salt stock cubes)
  • Mild cheddar to grate over dish (you can use as much as you want to cover the dish)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (Fan oven).

2. Wash, peel and roughly chop the potatoes in to small cubes. Wash and chop the leek in half, removing the green stalk. Then chop the two halves in to smaller semi circles, going lengthways.

Put the veg in a large saucepan, then pour the prepared stock in and bring to the boil. Par-boil on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the veg starts to soften.

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Potatoes and leeks with the stock

3. Whilst the veg is boiling, wash and chop the zucchina lengthways (same as the leek and as shown below).

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Chop zucchina lengthways and in semicircles

Add the chopped zucchina to the potatoes and leek mix only for the last few minutes, so it also starts to soften.

4. Once all the veg is just soft, use a slotted spoon to remove the veg from the stock and put it all in a small baking dish (approximately 15 cm x 20 cm). Then use a large serving spoon to add the stock from the pan (about 2-3 spoonfuls of liquid). The idea is to have some stock in the bottom tray to steam the veg in the oven and add more flavour.

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Bottom layer of stock underneath the veg mix

5. Place the dish on a baking tray (you don’t have to do this but I find it easier to get it out of the oven this way). Cover loosely with tin foil and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

6. Take out of the oven and remove the foil. Grate a generous amount of cheddar over the top to cover the mixture. Return to the oven without the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

There you go, it’s all ready to serve!

I like to serve it as a side with breaded chicken or fish. But, like I said before, you can also have it as a main dish for lunch. I also like to add some black pepper to my portion but keep it plain for the kid’s portions. Enjoy!

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Bon appetit!

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