Zucchini Ricotta Spirals
Spirals of zucchini wrapped around a garlicky-herb Ricotta cheese blend. Make it with your favorite pasta sauce for a quick, healthy, gluten-free meal or appetizer.
I envisioned this dish as zucchini roses. Of course I should know that zucchini slices with ricotta intertwined wouldn’t quite be the shape of a rose, but hey, I can dream, right? They turned out not quite like a rose, but still with a pretty spiral shape and a most delicious taste.
I made my zucchini spirals with my Beef Bolognese sauce to compliment the cheeses, and the taste of the meaty tomato sauce with the cheese and vegies was SO good! Think lasagna rollups, but with zucchini in place of the noodles. The zucchini gets tender and the cheese oozes all over the meat sauce, but you can still pick it up in a nice bite.
- 15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
- 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
- About 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, with a bit of finely chopped rosemary)
- 1 cup shredded Italian blend of cheeses
- 2 - 6 small zucchini (depending on how many spirals you want to make)
- Wooden toothpicks
- Pasta sauce (I used my Beef Bolognese Sauce, but a marinara would be lovely too)
- Set a pot of water on the stove over high heat until boiling.
- While you are waiting for the water, pour some pasta sauce to cover the bottom of an oven-safe dish to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Make sure there is at least 1/2 - 1 inch of lip space above the sauce. If not, get a deeper baking dish.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta filling ingredients and set it aside.
- Slice the zucchini horizontally (the long way) into thin slices (1/8 inch if possible, up to 1/4 inch is okay). I used a knife to do this, but you could use a mandolin if you have one.
- When the water is boiling, using a set of tongs, gently set the zucchini slices in the water and let the slices boil for 3 - 5 minutes or until they are tender and easy to bend. Lift them out carefully with the tongs onto a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry.
- Take each zucchini slice and spread it all over with a thin layer of the ricotta cheese mixture. Starting at the smaller end, roll the slice up to make a spiral, securing the "rose" with a toothpick. Set the spiral in the baking dish in the awaiting sauce. Repeat with zucchini slices until your dish is full. Sometimes two spirals can "share" a toothpick, others will need their own.
- Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and some of the tops just begin to get a light brown. If the juice from the zucchini makes your sauce too wet, use a clean towel (that you don't mind getting sauce on) at the edges to remove the excess water.
- To eat: set a spiral on your plate, remove the toothpick, spoon a little sauce over top and use a fork to cut into bite-size pieces. OR serve atop a plate full of pasta, slathered with sauce and add a zucchini ricotta "rose" on top.
If you don't use all the ricotta mixture for your zucchini spirals, you can use it in lasagna or on crostini (little toasts).
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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