Savory Vegetable Cheesecake

Adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest
Preparation time: 30 minutes to assemble, 50 minutes to bake, plus time to cool.
Yield: 6 or more servings

NOTE: You will need to grate zucchini, carrot, and mozzarella for this recipe. Do this first, and use a food processor with the grating attachment, if possible, to make it easier. You don't need to clean the processor between gratings!

3 cups (packed) coarsely grated zucchini (3 or 4 small zukes)
A little salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups (1 1/2 pounds) ricotta cheese
1 cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3 large eggs, beaten
Black pepper to taste
2 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced into rounds, then in half to make "D's"
3 to 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  1. Place the grated zucchini in a colander over a sink. Salt lightly and let stand 15 minutes. Squeeze out all excess moisture.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a little of the olive oil to oil the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. (A pastry brush is the best tool for this.)
  3. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, and the carrot, flour, and dried herbs. Cook, stirring, over low heat for about 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in garlic, parsley, and lemon juice.
  4. Place the cheeses and eggs in a large bowl, and beat vigorously for a minute or two. Add the vegetable mixture, and mix well. Season to taste with black pepper, and adjust salt, if necessary.
  5. Transfer to the prepared pan, and arrange the tomato slices on top in a lovely pattern of your own design. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes. Cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of that pan. Serve at any temperature. This is delicious for any meal, including breakfast!
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