Do you want something light, tasty, easy and delicious for a hot summer day? Go for an Italian recipe. Try my suggestion: courgettes stuffed with ricotta or as Italians would say: Zucchini alla Ricotta.
I would eat this meal quite often, if you ask me. Contrary to that, I have made it only twice so far. Once in London, once in Romania. So there is enough time to make it in the near future. My inspiration is in a book I have written about it here: “Good Housekeeping All Colour Party Cook Book” 1992.
I would also add another recipe for a home-made sauce. This sauce works with everything, from pasta, pizza to this recipe. So you must make it too, but don’t worry, it is very easy.
Let’s get to work, pardon me, to read. 😉
Zucchini alla Ricotta
(Courgettes stuffed with Ricotta)
- 8 even-sized courgettes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, skinned and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, skinned and crushed
- 175 g (6 oz) Ricotta cheese (if you don’t have Ricotta, try a fresh cheese)
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
- 3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
- fresh basil sprigs, to garnish
- freshly ground pepper
For the quick tomato sauce:
- 397 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 1 small onion, skinned and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, skinned and crushed (optional)
- pinch of dried basil
- pinch of sugar
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Score the courgettes length-ways with the prongs of a fork, then cut them in half lengthways.
- Scoop out the flesh from the courgette halves with a sharp-edged teaspoon. Leave a thin margin of flesh next to the skin and make sure not to scoop out all the flesh from the bottoms or the skin may break.
- Blanch the courgette shells in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, then stand skin side up on absorbent paper.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and scooped-out flesh from the courgettes. Fry gently for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured, then turn into a bowl and add the Ricotta, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
- Spoon the Ricotta filling into the drained courgette shells, dividing it equally between them.
- Make the sauce now. The recipe says 300 ml but this sauce makes about 450 ml (3/4 pint). But as they say, there is never enough sauce, so use it all. So, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have either of these, try mash everything or just add them directly to a saucepan. The sauce is perfectly fine like this too.
- Heat in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish which is large enough to hold the courgettes in a single layer. Place the filled courgettes in the dish side by side. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the oven at 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil sprigs.