Tag Archives: tomato sauce

Beautiful Italy


Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta 

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)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • salt
  • 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

Method:

  • 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.

Bon appetite!

SSP


I know that you wonder what SSP is. You are paying attention now.;) SSP is sweet & sour pork for short. I remember eating this recipe for the first time in my life in Constanta in a Chinese restaurant and loved it to bits. When I discovered it in the “Original card from “Delicious Meals Made Easy” I was very happy. I had the chance to cook it anytime I wanted. It happened that I made it in London the first time.

Why are Chinese or Thai or Japanese or other Asian recipes so easy to cook? I have no idea but I like it. I would cook with a wok everyday, provided I have the ingredients and resources. I had this chance once, I took it and all I can do now is talk about it and sometime cook.

Sweet & Sour Pork

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2,5 cm (1 in) piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 450 g (1 lb) pork fillet, cut into 2,5 cm (1 in) cubes
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (or flour)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or apple vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
  • 175 g (6 oz) mange tout, topped and tailed (I think you can replace them with broccoli or other pods, as I haven’t seen here them yet, but they are excellent. Too bad)
  • 227 g (8 oz) can of pineapple chunks in natural juice (optional, for a fruity addition)

Method:

  • Mix soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, garlic and ginger. Add pork, cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours. You can leave them longer, from the evening until the next day, if you like. Just remember that it smells quite strongly, so cover it well.
  • Drain pork in a sieve, reserving the marinade. Stir cornflour, rice vinegar, tomato sauce and honey into reserved marinade.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan or wok. Add pork and stir-fry over a high heat for 5 minutes. Remove pork from pan with a slotted spoon.
  • Heat remaining oil in pan or wok. Add peppers and mange tout and stir-fry over a high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add marinade mixture to pan or wok and stir until thickened. Add pork and cook for further 1 minute, stirring constantly. Breathe in the smell!
  • Serve with the savoury basmati rice or Chinese noodles. Any noodles will do. Delicious!

Bon appetite!