Zucchini alla ricotta
Zucchini alla ricotta my way
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.
Posted in Dishes, English, F word, Italian, Vegetarian
Tagged basil, can tomatoes, courgette, courgettes recipe, courgettes stuffed with ricotta, Courgettes stuffed with Ricotta recipe, Good Housekeeping - All Colour Party Cook Book, Italian food, italian recipe, Ricotta cheese, tomato puree, tomato sauce, vegetarian recipe, zucchini alla Ricotta, Zucchini alla Ricotta recipe
Everybody knows about Shepherd’s Pie. I hope. 😉 I really like this dish and when I have first eaten it, I didn’t know what to expect. I discovered a very tasty and homey food. It makes me smile just talking about it. That is why I have made it several times and I would do it again, on a freezing winter day. It goes very well with boiled vegetables and a red wine. And a warm heart. 🙂
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 115 g (4 oz) mushrooms, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500 g (1 1/4 lb) lean chuck steak, minced (ground)
- 150 ml (1/4 pt) red wine
- 150 ml (1/4 pt) beef stock (if you don’t want to use wine, just put 300 ml of beef stock or water)
- bay leaf
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
- 675 g (1 1/2 lb) potatoes, boiled
- 25 g (1 oz) butter
- 3 tbsp hot milk
- 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- Heat the oil in a saucepan or big pan, add the onion, carrot,mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir the beef into the pan and cook, stirring to break up the lumps, until lightly browned.
- Blend a few spoonfuls of the stock or water with the flour, then stir this mixture into the pan. Stir in the remaining stock or water and wine, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Add the bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, tomato purée (paste), the cover and cook very gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pan towards the end of cooking to allow any excess water to evaporate, if necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 190 °C, 375 °F, Gas Mark 5.
- Put the potatoes in a pan with water, to boil, until very tender. Drain then mash with the butter, milk and seasoning.
- Add the tarragon and seasoning to the mince in the pan, then pour into a pie dish or baking dish.Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes, then an even layer of potato. Mark the top with the prongs of a fork.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Posted in Beef, Dishes, English, English, F word
Tagged bay leaf, beef mince, beef stock, butter, English recipe, english traditional recipe, milk, mushrooms, potatoes, red wine, Shepherd's Pie, shepherd's pie recipe, steak, stock, Tabasco sauce, tarragon, Tesco magazine, tomato puree, Traditional British Cooking, traditional recipe, Worcestershire sauce
I feel so relieved! My exams are over. So is my stress. I can continue writing here, without thinking that I have an exam tomorrow or I have to learn for one. So I add today the recipe I put some weeks ago in Romanian. This is the English recipe of mousaka, the Greek type . But this one comes with a twist: it has Gruyère cheese in it. I loved it the moment I put my eyes on it, as it has cheese and aubergines, one of my favorite vegetables. Plus, it is traditional to make with aubergines, not potatoes. I have made mousaka with potatoes some years ago just to see how it tasted, but I didn’t like it. My fave is this one. If you are lucky to have this book: Josceline Dimbley “Marvellous Meals with Mince” – 1982, than you can just skip this.
What I like about this recipe is that it has exotic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, that add a special flavour and fragrance to the dish.
Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese
- 550-675 g (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb) aubergines (approx. 3)
- lemon juice
- 2 onions
- 25 g (1 oz) butter (80-82 unsalted butter, if you find)
- 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince (you can add half lamb and half beef mince if you like)
- 1 tsp (5 ml spoon) ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 6 tbsp water
- a good handful of parsley, chopped
- 200 g (8 oz) Gruyère cheese, sliced thinly (the original recipe states 100 g, but my experience has shown me that it is not enough, plus I love cheese, so there is never enough for me)
- salt and pepper
For the topping:
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
- 450 ml (3/4 pint) milk
- a little grated nutmeg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp single cream
- salt and black pepper
- Peel the aubergines, slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch (5 mm – 1cm) rounds and immediately smear with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Then rub all over with salt and leave in a colander in the sink for half an hour, to drain away the bitter juices. I can tell you that there won’t be much or no bitter juices.
- Peel and chop the onions. To do this I have discovered in London the excellent Alligator Onion Cutter. I hate cutting onion so I have purchased one there. I saw it in Selfridge and other stores. It is worth it having one, believe me. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat until softened. Add the minced lamb and fry over a rather higher heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon until it is separated and sealed. Stir in the ground cinnamon and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Then stir in the tomato purée and water and bubble until the water is absorbed. Turn of the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and empty the aubergine slices into it. Cover the pan and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- In a 2 1/2 – 3 pint (1,4 – 1,7 litre) ovenproof dish (a glass one shows tha layers attractively) make layers of aubergine slices, mince mixture and Gruyère cheese, starting and ending with a layer of aubergine.
- To make the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir in the milk, gradually at first. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and then bubble gently, still stirring, for about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper add a little grated nutmeg. What a lovely flavour!Remove from the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and gradually add the white sauce, stirring in thoroughly. If the sauce is al all lumpy, whisk until smooth and then pour on tp of the aubergine and meat layers.
- Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until a rich golden brown on top.
Posted in Beef, Dishes, English, F word, Greek, Lamb
Tagged aubergine, beef mince, black pepper, butter, cinnamon, egg yolk, flour, greek food, greek recipe, Gruyere cheese, Josceline Dimbley, Josceline Dimbley Marvellous Meals with Mince, lamb mince, lemon juice, Marvellous Meals with Mince, milk, minced meat recipe, mousaka, mousaka recipe, Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese recipe, mousaka with Gruyere cheese, nutmeg, onion, parsley, salt, single cream, tomato puree