Zucchini Roll-Ups are easy to make and a delicious way to use a bumper crop of the vegetable.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Homemade ricotta cheese, or store bought
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of basil
optional: sliced mushrooms–a mixture is nice
Slice the zucchini on a mandolin slicer, very thinly. You’ll need 2-3 slices per person. Dice any unused portion of zucchini and set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet, and stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and diced zucchini with pinches of salt. Cook until tender, just a few minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, blanch the zucchini slices in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove to a plate lined with paper toweling.
Make a tomato sauce with ¼ cup finely diced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and pinches of salt softened in olive oil. Stir in 3 diced summer tomatoes or a small container of cherry tomatoes with a pinch of dried red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat to a sauce consistency. Add ¼ cup dry red wine, if you like.
When the garlic and diced zucchini mixture has cooled a bit, stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, and half the basil leaves. Taste and salt again as needed.
Lay the drained zucchini slices on a cutting board and spoon 1 tbsp of ricotta filling onto each slice, then roll up. Place into a baking dish. Repeat with all the zucchini slices. Top with the tomato sauce, and bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Serve as an appetizer.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream.
¼ cup vinegar
In a large heavy pot, combine the milk, cream and vinegar. Add ¼ tsp salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. As you stir, curds will begin to form. Continue to cook and stir for another few minutes.
It will be a very liquid mixture of curds and whey. When done, it may need more salt to taste.
Line a mesh strainer with a clean and almost threadbare dishtowel and place over a bowl large enough to hold the strained whey. Pour the milk mixture through the strainer, separating the curds from the whey, letting it drain for about 20-25 minutes. Freeze the resulting protein-rich whey in appropriate quantities to use in soups this winter. The ricotta makes flavorful dips or spreads, and fillings for zucchini or eggplant roll-ups,or fill a pocket in a pork chop or chicken breast.