Tag: courgette

Ricotta stuffed Zucchini in White Wine Sauce

Zucchini stuffed with Lemon Ricotta

When we have friends over for dinner, my mood always decides what treats I bring to the table. There are two options, I either feel like a sumptuous meal with several courses which might mean cooking for one or two days and which definitely requires good organisation before and on the night and most importantly enough time to enjoy all the preparations. The other approach is to take it easy and choose recipes which don’t need a rigid plan. I just fill the table with plates full of food before or as our friends arrive and we all enjoy the night together. Eating, talking and laughing, drinking some wine of course, savoring and emptying the plates for hours. This was my choice when I had a dinner for 10 ahead of me a few days ago!

Some of our friends from Malta just moved to Berlin a few months ago. I know how much Maltese love and miss their home and food when they live abroad so I decided to make a traditional Maltese recipe, zucchini stuffed with lemon ricotta. I would have loved to get the small round courgette (Qarabaghli in Maltese) which would have been perfect for this recipe as you can close the stuffed fruit from the top. I worried that the ricotta would run down the sides of my long zucchini when I closed them but it worked fine. I cooked them for an hour in white wine together with the fried pulp of the fruits and some onions. Just a little of the creamy cheese went into the sauce and added some nice creaminess.

In the late afternoon, I cooked the zucchinis and left them al dente. I didn’t want them to turn soggy as I had to warm them up again before our guests arrived. I filled my dining table with three different kinds of quiche which are very easy to prepare in advance and I can’t really say if I prefer them warm or cold (here’s one of my recipes). Two loaves of homemade bread and a big batch of my raspberry chocolate brownies were on my list as well, both are great nibbles for a long night. When we all gathered around the table and I brought the dish with the steaming zucchini I didn’t know that the night would go on for so long – our last guests left at 5 in the morning or so I was told, I fell asleep on the sofa at 4!

Zucchini stuffed with Lemon Ricotta

Zucchini stuffed with Lemon Basil Ricotta in White Wine Sauce

For 2 hungry people or for 4 when you have starters, you need

zucchini / courgette, cut in half (lengthwise)  2 (around 500g / 1 pound)
ricotta 200g / 7 ounces
parmesan, grated, 20g / 1 ounce
organic eggs 2
basil, chopped roughly, 10 big leaves
lemon zest 1 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
crushed black pepper
medium sized onion, chopped finely, 1
garlic, cut in half, 2 cloves
parsley 3 sprigs
white wine 1 glass
tomato paste 1 tablespoon
olive oil for frying

Whisk the ricotta together with the parmesan, eggs, basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Scrape the pulp out of the zucchini with a small spoon and set aside. Season the inside of the zucchini with a little salt and pepper and fill both sides with the ricotta mixture. Close them just before you put them into the casserole.

In a large pot or casserole with a lid (big enough for the zucchinis), fry the onions in a little oil till golden and soft on medium heat. Add the garlic and the pulp and fry for 2-3 minutes, deglaze with some white wine and add the sprigs of parsley. Put the stuffed zucchini on top of the onions, add some more wine (1-2cm / 1/2-1″ of the bottom should be covered), close with a lid and cook for 1 hour on low – medium heat. Check after 2o minutes, you may have to add some more wine, the bottom should remain covered.

When the zucchinis are soft at the bottom and al dente at the top, take them out with 2 spatulas, carefully, and set them aside. Take out the parsley, add the tomato paste to the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the zucchini together with the sauce.

Zucchini stuffed with Lemon Ricotta

Savory Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

I’ve wanted to learn how to bake sourdough bread for years, the only problem is that I bake and love so many of my yeast bread recipes that, so far I’ve never approached this adventure. Dry or fresh yeast allows me to make a fresh and warm bread within a couple hours where as sourdough demands days of preparation. Most of the time, my baking isn’t really planned far ahead,  my mood decides what I will put in the oven. With the right ingredients a yeast bread is wonderfully juicy and spongy but I have to admit that it never creates a crust comparable to the more time-consuming alternative which also has the advantage that you can keep it for days. This is impossible with yeast bread, but to be honest that has never been an issue as all the fresh bread coming out of my kitchen doesn’t survive for more than a day or two!

I know that one day sooner or later I will give the sourdough a try, but till then there is still a lot of bread to bake. One option, which is as juicy as my olive bread, is a loaf made with grated zucchini (courgette) which makes the texture so soft and spongy that it doesn’t need more than some olive oil or butter spread on top. I served it with ramp (yes, again) butter when we had some friends over and I liked that a lot as well, it made it a bit garlicky.

It’s really quick to bake, it only needs 20 minutes in the oven!

Zucchini Bread

Savory Zuchini Bread

For 2 loaves of bread you need

flour 500g / 1 pound
yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1 heaped teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon for the zucchini
zucchini, grated 200g / 7 ounces
water, lukewarm, 225ml
olive oil for brushing

Put the grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix with your fingers. Set aside for 15 minutes, rinse under cold water for a few seconds and squeeze the water out with your hands. Spread the zucchini on a tea towel and push another towel on top to dry. Scrape off the towel and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients, add the zucchini and water and mix with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 45 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

Take the dough out, punch it down and knead for 1 minute. Form 2 long loaves and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and let them rise for 30 minutes in the warm oven.

Set your oven to 220°C / 430°F.

Brush the loaves with a thin layer of olive oil and bake for 18 minutes or until cooked through. If you’re not sure if it’s done turn the bread around and knock on its underside, it should sound hollow. Let it cool for a couple minutes before you enjoy the first slice of your freshly baked bread.

Zucchini Bread

 

Zucchini Bread