Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zucchini and Ricotta Casserole – Help Us End SZF in Our Lifetime

Recent made-up studies have shown that every Fall, millions of Americans suffer from a condition known as Severe Zucchini Fatigue (SZF). 

After months of eating zucchini, their bodies begin to shut down and they simply can’t stomach any more of the ubiquitous summer squash. Well, relief is now just a casserole dish away.

Thanks to the magic of mint, the goodness of garlic, and a generous topping of baked ricotta, your SZF can not only be controlled, it can be cured. For this to be fully effective, be sure to not cheat on the hot oven. 

I know your oven smokes a little bit when set to 450 degrees F. (mostly because you only clean it like once a decade), but that’s the temperature needed to brown the edges of the zucchini and cheese, before the liquids begin to leak out.

This is meant to be a relatively quick and easy vegetable side, but as I ate it I couldn’t help but think what a great one-dish meal this would have made with the addition of some spicy sausages. Maybe scatter a few slices of chorizo or lamb Merguez sausage in there? How is that not going to be great? Anyway, I hope you give this delicious zucchini and ricotta casserole a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
3 or 4 firm large zucchini
2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
salt to taste
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup (packed) thinly sliced mint leaves
1 cup ricotta cheese, or as needed
cayenne to taste

View the complete recipe

20 comments:

Morgan R. said...

This is what I'll be doing with the overabundance of zucchini in my fridge. Adding sausages sounds even better!

Monica said...

How timely. have a huge zucchini, the last of several, from friends garden. I will add venison Italian sausage for a complete meal.

truthspew said...

I love zucchini! Raw, fried, boiled, broiled, roasted, you name it.

It is because it's so bland that it works. You can doctor it up with garlic, spices, etc. and it's fantastic.

Food Junkie said...

John - FYI the smoked paprika is missing from the ingredients.

The recipe sounds good, and might actually make zucchini worth eating. although I never really understood why anyone bothers with it.

Anonymous said...

When used as meal, any suggestion on a starch side? (potatoes, bread,..)

philogaia said...

One zucchini plant is about a half a zucchini plant too many for my garden. I've never figured out how to plant a half a zucchini though. And I'd like to keep my friends so I wouldn't show up with extras at a gathering. So right now my strategy to avoid SZF is to buy them one at a time at the farmer's market and don't feel like I have to do my part to reduce the summer zucchini population.

That said my favorite zuke preparation is roasting or grilling and I have freshly made yogurt cheese in the fridge. Freakishly small zuke casserole in my near future, I think.

anne @ EZ Gluten Free said...

Awesome recipe. And it's gluten free without even trying. Nice one chef.

ThisDameCooks said...

I really love this with fresh dill and cherry tomatoes. Timely vid - thanks Chef.

Robeerto said...

I made two big pans of this last night for a dozen Italian neighbors. I used one quarter of the garlic to appeal to their tastes (Italians don't eat nearly as much garlic as some Americans imagine) and I cooked it in my very hot outdoor wood burning oven. The result was great. The dinner guests had never seen a zucchini dish quite like it. I always worry about serving Italians something "not like Mama makes it". But they loved it. A keeper recipe.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has an over abundance of zucchini, please ship them to me. I am quite eager to make this recipe (minus the hideous thing called mint. I think I'm the only person on Earth who detests mint). Thank you Chef John for posting it.

Not-Chef Darcy

Matreya said...

I tried your recipe today and I liked it even though I do suffer from SZF....

Anonymous said...

This recipe was reminiscent of ricotta shells and cheese. I substituted basil for mint. I enjoyed it.

Heather Stevenson said...

I have made this twice since first seeing the recipe and it was delicious. I found it a little expensive because of the ricotta so the second time I used some light herb and garlic cream cheese, which was tasty too. The hot pepper, smoked paprika, and mint made this dish delicious! I would never have thought of using mint with zucchini. I will be buying more zucchini today!

NetKerveros said...

Chef John thanks for making me a better cook! My friends can't believe my coulinary achievments over the last year that I have been following your blog. The zucchini recipie was a masterpiece. Simple and amazing!

Chef John said...

Thank you!! :)

Lux Vex said...

Dearest Chef John,
I live in Spain, and I am so sorry about that, because I would love to meet you. You seem like an extremely nice person. Today I made this recipe for my boyfriend, who loved it even though he is not a veggie fan. Please keep this up, for I absolutely adore your blog. Good luck in everything you do,

Lux Vex

Chef John said...

Thank you!!

Steve said...

Chef:

This is the first recipe of yours that turned out a bust for me and I'm not exactly sure why.

The dish turned out very dry and marginally unappetizing. I believe I followed it to the letter (which is unusual for me -- usually I tend to riff on things). The only thing I can think of is that the zucchini were relatively mature -- they had pretty well formed seeds that had to be scooped out.

Perhaps I just needed younger zucchini?

Chef John said...

Yes, that was the problem!

lap39 said...

Did you put this in the lowest shelf of your oven? It looked like it in the video.

Do I need to go back and watch the video again to get how long to bake. I could not find that either.