Zucchini Rotolo with Ricotta & Peas
I have seen many versions of this type of recipe lately, and thought I should probably get on the Zucchini pasta substitute bandwagon ASAP.
What can I say? I am a massive follower of food fashion and I am amazed at its ever evolving capabilities. I mean, who ever thought that you could use Zucchini as pasta, not an Italian surely? I ask this question in the same way that I would really love to know who was the first person to witness an egg coming out of a chickens bum and thought “Wow, that looks good….lets fry, scramble or poach these babies!”.
These are the big questions and right now I only have the answer to the first. Because Zucchini tastes bloody good. Because Zucchini is a lighter option and we are all trying to be super healthy these days with our Keto, Zone, Low Gi, Gluten free, Paleo, Atkins, Soy, Almond Milk, Kale, blah blah blah methods, which is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a great thing and this dish really ticked a lot of those boxes.
I loved it, LOVED IT, it was big on flavour and really delivered on every level, except the pasta level and while I felt lighter on the lounge after eating all that Zucchini, my heart felt a little heavier. This is why, for me, Diet is DIE with a T and meals like this are a necessary evil (good evil). That being said, you should definitely cook it, as it was pretty darn good!
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 40 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
3-4 large zucchini, sliced really thin (I used a mandolin for this), discard the skin pieces*
400gm of ricotta
150gm of fetta, crumbled
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
11/2 cups of frozen peas
2 garlic cloves
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs of finely chopped fresh oregano, stalks discarded
2 tbs of finely chopped mint
Sea salt and pepper
1 egg, whisked
Grated Parmesan, Mozzarella or Tasty cheese for sprinkling
For the Sauce:
2 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of garlic, finely minced
2 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (optional, I am addicted to chilli)
1/2 cup of dry red wine
700 gm bottle of passata
1 tsp of sugar
Sea salt and pepper
Ok, so I tried rolling these raw after watching Donna Hay do it and I am not sure what I did wrong but I could not, for the life of me, get them to stay rolled up. Then I had the ingenious idea of chargrilling them in a really hot griddle pan, nice and quickly so they weren’t too soft but were way more pliable once cooled. I would like you to do exactly this. It will not matter if they are cold when you roll so just set them aside on a plate while you make the filling and sauce.
To make the filling, blanch the peas in boiling water until just thawed, drain and then give them a little mash with a potato masher. Place them in a large mixing bowl with the ricotta, fetta, parmesan, herbs, garlic, lemon rind, egg and salt and pepper. Use a spatula to combine the mixture thoroughly. Place the mix in the fridge while you prepare the sauce.
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the garlic, oregano and chilli flakes and fry for a minute or two over a fairly low heat, so as not to burn the garlic. Add the cinnamon and wine and allow to reduce a little before pouring in the passata and seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer for approximately 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into single serve ramekins (as I have done) or 1 large lasagne dish.
To roll the Rotolo, Lay zucchini strips on a board or the bench and place good heaped dessert spoon of filling on one end. Gently roll up and place in the baking dish. It doesn’t matter if the filling is kind of puffing out the top, it will go nice and golden in the oven. Repeat with the remaining zucchini strips and mixture until you have filled the dish. If you have mixture remaining, use a teaspoon to spoon it onto the top of the rolls. Sprinkle cheese liberally over the top and place in a preheated 200°C oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden and puffy.
If you are using a lasagne dish, gently scoop the rolls out with an egg slide, approximately 5-6 per person, remembering that this is low carb so much lighter than pasta.
- The sides of the zucchini can still be chargrilled but set them aside for a salad, or just eat them. The skin is a little tough to roll.