Ricotta lovers this one’s for you!
Ricotta is one of my favourite soft cheeses and regularly used in Italian cooking. It’s soft smooth creamy consistency and mild flavour make is a perfect ingredient for pasta fillings, bread toppings, and in both savoury and sweet recipes.
Fresh is definitely best when it comes to buying ricotta, I highly recommend buying from a reputably Italian delis or supermarket that sells it fresh. If buying packaged you can find them cryovac sealed in a strainer for ultimate freshness.
This recipe though timely, is worth the extra effort. If you have made your own pre made sauce that will cut the time significantly. I know I say this a lot but it is true…like a lot of Italian home cooking, basic fresh ingredients cooked right make the most flavoursome meals.
I have opted to use thinly sliced zucchini ribbons to wrap the ricotta mixture in instead of traditional eggplant or pasta for a more nutritious carb free option.
Spinach & Ricotta Zucchini Involtinis
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
400ml bottle tomato passata (sugo)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup of red wine (optional)
1 small bunch basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
2-3 large zucchinis, thinly sliced using a mandolin is ideal
500g fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 bunch (500g) english spinach, finely chopped
small handful of Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
rind zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 180’C (380’F)
- To make tomato sauce; Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium to high heat, add garlic and cook until just fragrant.
- Add tomato passata, water, salt, wine and basil to the pot.
- Bring to the boil, turn down to low heat with lid on and simmer lid partially on for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare the zucchini by thinly slicing longways with a mandolin or sharp knife to make ribbons. Lay each ribbon spaced out flat on a lined baking tray with baking paper. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and salt.
- Cook zucchini ribbons in prepared oven for 10 mins until partly cooked through but not too soft or they will break when trying to roll them.
- Make the ricotta filling by placing remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
- Once the sauce is cooked ladle it into an oven proof baking dish.
- Fill zucchini ribbons by placing 1-2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture on the top of one end of zucchini ribbon, then carefully roll them up, and place them on top of the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat.
- Season with extra salt and pepper then place baking dish in the oven and cook for 25 mins.
Serve accompanied with a Italian green salad