Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini Carrot Ricotta-Pesto Tart #2

Zucchini carrot ricotta pesto tartHappy First Fiesta Friday anniversary! We had neighbours over last night, and thought this might be a good choice to start a light vegetarian dinner. Having Italians over can be daunting, especially when they are excellent cooks and can argue at length about spaghetti widths, aubergine varieties and other such critical culinary points. Making this tart again might work, we thought, and it is also my contribution to the First Fiesta Friday anniversary. Fiesta Friday is like a really interesting weekly neighbourhood dinner, with some familar faces and some new. Each week I am inspired, impressed and grateful for all the wonderful ideas, recipes and writing, so thanks so much! Special thanks to our lovely FF52 co-hosts: Angie@The Novice Gardener, Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board.

Zucchini Carrot Ricotta-Pesto Rose Tart
(Initially inspired by Conversation Pieces: Zucchini Carrot Rose Tart)

One package ready-made puff pastry
3 zucchini
3 carrots
130 grammes fresh pesto, about 4 tbs
250 grammes ricotta, about 4 tbs
Salt, pepper

Roll out your dough into a pie dish. (Here it came with carta al forno, baking paper.) Slice the zucchini and carrots lengthwise into long thin strips, with a potato peeler or a mandolin. (This task is much easier when you have a patient husband who is handy in the kitchen..)
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Mix pesto and ricotta, half of each, with a little salt and pepper. Spread some ricotta-pesto mix on the strips of carrot and zucchini. Roll the strips somewhat tightly together, so they looks like a rosebud. (Yes, albeit a pesto-smeared, green one.) This is finicky, but the rolls held together well. Alternate carrot and zucchini, rolling until you have a good sized roll. Lift it carefully over onto pastry, and add last strips to fill the dish. Tuck the pastry edges over. If you have extra pesto-ricotta, feel free to spoon it into the crevices.
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Bake at 200C until it looks done. Time and temperature depends on your pastry and oven, last time 20 min at 180 was enough but this time it took 35-40 min and I increased he temperature. Slice into wedges and enjoy. Enjoy! We did! And our dinner with the neighbours went well, I think. They are really nice, forgiving of our gaps on speaking Italian, and we laughed a lot.

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

imageOttolenghi  can generally do no wrong, so when The Guardian had his recipes from Puglia, that certainly had to be tried. However,  I tweaked his recipe. Blasphemy, I know! However, a) I had an aubergine shortage and b) no breadcrumbs, but was c) too hungry to go shopping, and d) am not fond of deepfrying food. Hence the tweaks. These were SO good though! Definitely something for fans of roasted vegetables to try!

Aubergine-zucchini fritters

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Aubergine fritters at
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/20/puglian-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi-olive-oil

1 small aubergine, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Salt and black pepper
1 egg
75 g grated cheese (I used pecorino, use what you have)
50g wholewheat flour
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
1 scallion, chopped (white and green parts)

To fry: 2 tsp olive oil
To serve: sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce

Heat the oven to 230C. Put the diced aubergine and zucchini on a baking parchment-covered baking tray. Drizzle over 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until starting to brown, then take out. It will smell delicious, but don’t eat too much of this yet.

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Now, dig out your food processor, if you have one. (Or chop and mix at this step.) Set half the roasted zucchini and aubergine aside, and scoop the rest into the food processor. Add the egg, flour, grated cheese, basil leaves and scallion and blitz it until it is roughly mixed. It will not look pretty. Spoon into a bowl, then add the remaining roasted zucchini and aubergine that you had set aside. Again, do not eat this just yet (though I think this might be really good with pita bread, if you skipped the egg).

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Heat the last 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, and spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable batter. Fry until golden and firm enough to turn, maybe 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. When done on both sides, park the cooked fritters on some kitchen roll (optional, these should not be very oily) while you fry the rest.

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Serve the fritters warm with sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce. A cold tzatziki on the side might be nice instead too. This served two for dinner, with a couple leftover for lunch.

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The English in-laws arrive tomorrow for a week, which will be lovely, I may just make these fritters one day for them. I probably overshopped today: shiny dark aubergines, fragrant cherry tomatoes, some crisp pears, and some broccoli romano (looks like a pointy green cauliflower). It all looked so good. The veg drawer is already stuffed, including some declining zucchini, but I feel more prepared this way. It all gets used somehow!

Sesame-crusted tofu with roast vegetables

Sesame crusted roast veg After holidays in Norway (excellent), it was great to be back in Rome, walk by the fruit and veg corner and restock the fridge. Shiny dark purple aubergines, elongated gnarled bell peppers, crisp zucchini, some slightly sticky plums… Oh yes, I bought it all. Not to mention grapes, pears and salad. Once I got home, there was not quite room for it all, despite now having 1.5 fridges. Well, ths little fridge is full of wine, pickled herring and pecorino cheese from Pienza, which could not be easily consumed. So we sliced up some vegetables and roasted them, and topped them with crunchy sesame tofu and fragrant basil. Hey presto: dinner! Vaguely healthy, but more importantly: tasty, so I am bringing a heaping platter of this to Fiesta Friday 33! Many thanks to the gracious hosts: Angie, Andresa and Sylvia!

Sesame-crusted tofu with roast vegetables
1-2 aubergines
3-4 zucchini
1 bellpepper
Handful of leftover cherry tomatoes
(Or any other roastable veg you have)
Small pinch of salt
3-4 tbs olive oil
200 grammes of firm tofu
4 tbs sesame seeds
For serving: handful of fresh basil

imageHeat your oven to 230C or so. Slice the vegetables (lengthwise for the zucchini), lay them out on foil-lined baking trays and drizzle oil over. Just a pinch of salt as well. As I discovered by omission, a little oil beneath the veg would have helped them not stick…. I turned the veg after some minutes, until they were all nicely roasted but still holding their shape. You can take them out of the oven and set them aside for a bit, if needed.

In the interim I drained the tofu, and cut little sticks which I blotted with kitchen roll to dry. A third oven tray was prepared with foil, and I laid all the tofu sticks out on that. Then I brushed them with a smidgeon of olive oil, and dropped sesame seeds across the tray.  I had seen something like this in a Donna Hay recipe (such chic styling!) and mine looked absolutely nothing like hers. Still, I popped the sesame tofu bits in the oven under the grill (high top heat in oven) for a few minutes until they went crispy and golden. It burns in no time, so best to keep a close eye.
Sesame crusted roast vegPeel the roast veg off the foil, heap a platter. Distribute the hot crunchy sesame tofu over the vegetables, and top with some chopped fresh basil if you have some.

Fiesta Friday
I have been so looking forward to Fiesta Friday. I need some inspiration for what to cook: it is still warm and muggy here, too early for stews and soups but I am not sure what I fancy eating either. Thanks in advance for all the amazing Fiesta Friday offerings!