Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini, feta and dill pie

If you look at the number of recipes I have here that use zucchini, it’s clear that I’m a bit of a zucchini addict. It’s such a great versatile vegetable. This easy to make ‘pie’, by Belinda Jeffery, is great to serve at room temperature and ideal for any meal of the day. I like to use a crumbly feta for this, like Dodoni, whereas for other recipes a firmer feta is required like South Cape or Lemnos. The recipe also suggested a cooking time of 45 minutes, and I have found this not long enough both times I have made it, even with a fan forced setting, and cook it for a good hour. I’ve used standard cherry tomatoes but also a mix of varieties which look pretty.

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Ingredients
700g zucchini
5 x 60g eggs
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup chopped dill
200g feta
150g freshly grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
150g self-raising flour
8-12 cherry tomatoes, halved


Making it

Coarsely grate the zucchini into a large sieve or colander, sit a plate on top to weigh it down a little and leave to drain. I like to leave it for a good half hour or so, then squeeze out any liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180C. Grease a 22cm square cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together. Add the oil, chives and dill, and combine. Add the grated zucchini and combine with a wooden spoon. Crumble in the feta, add the parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the flour and mix it in until it is combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared tin then gently press the cherry tomato halves, cut side up, into the surface. Season with a little salt if desired.

Bake for about an hour, or until the top of the pie is springy when pressed; you can test it with a knife or skewer in the centre, but note it is quite moist. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before turning out and serve hot or room temperature as desired, but I think the latter is better.

Greek stuffed vegetables

Recently, a friend asked me if I’d show her how to make my silverbeet and filo scroll, which of course I was delighted to do.  We gathered at her place with a couple of others, one of whom showed us her Greek stuffed vegetables, called “yemista”, for a very relaxed and fun night of cooking and chatter.   I knew The Marito would like this, so had a go at making it myself a few nights later.

Like a lot of my Italian recipes courtesy of Mamma Rosa, she made it on look and feel so I’ve done my best on quantities.  Also like a lot of our Southern Italian recipes, there are many many versions of this Greek dish, depending on the village or how it was tweaked over the years.  Often, currants and nuts – either toasted flaked almonds or toasted pine nuts – are added, particularly at Christmas.  You can also add garlic when frying off the onion, but my cooking companion, like me, doesn’t cook with garlic (her husband doesn’t like it, and neither does my father, so Mamma Rosa never cooked with it and so I don’t), and other herbs such as fresh oregano if you have it on hand.  For our vegetables we stuffed tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant, but you could just do one of those if you prefer.  Capsicum are also often used. You can also do a meat version of this using a mince combination of your choice. I really loved the use of mint in this dish.

Ingredients
6 tomatoes
2 medium eggplant
4 medium zucchini
1 large red onion, diced
50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 cup medium grain rice
500ml chicken stock, plus a few tablespoons extra
1 cup continental parsley leaves
1 cup mint leaves
100g feta
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Making it
1. Slice the tops off the vegetables (about 1cm from the top, maybe a little more for the eggplant) and set aside. These will be the “lids” later on

2. Using a spoon, scoop all the pulp out of the tomatoes, chop coarsely, and set the pulp aside in a bowl

3. Similarly, scoop the flesh out of the zucchini and eggplant, to form a boat shape. Leave a good rim otherwise they will collapse during cooking. Chop the flesh coarsely and set aside.

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4. Add the olive oil to a pot with the onion and a pinch of salt, and fry off on medium heat until the onion starts to soften. Add the reserved eggplant and zucchini flesh to the pot and continue to cook for a few minutes until softened, then add the tomato pulp. Cook for a few more minutes and add the rice and 250mls of stock and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Coarsely chop the parsley and mint, add to the mixture, combine and remove from the heat. Check for seasoning at this point and add if needed. Note the rice will still be on the crunchy side, don’t worry about this, it will cook in the next stage.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Place your vegetable “boats” in a baking dish (you might need two dishes) and then loosely fill each with some of the rice mixture. Don’t pack it down or overfill (you’ll see I overfilled my tomatoes and little as a couple split) as the rice will expand during cooking. You might have a little rice mixture left, if so you can add more stock and keep cooking and turn it into a bit of quasi risotto for another day!

6. Cut the feta into small pieces and place one piece in each tomato, two or three pieces in each of the eggplant and zucchini depending on the size. Then spoon a teaspoon or two of stock into each vegetable. Next, place the “lids” on each vegetable, season to taste, and drizzle with a little olive oil on the top. Pour about half a cup of stock into the bottom of the baking dish. Put the dish in the oven and cook, uncovered, for an hour. Remove from the oven and serve, hot if you wish or at room temperature, which is typically how they are served in Greece. Delicious!

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Spaghetti with zucchini and baby spinach

This recipe of Adam Liaw’s that appeared in the paper a few weeks ago has become a regular one in the Napoli household. All that lovely green! The original recipe is here but I’ve made some minor tweaks. I’ve upped the quantities to make it a main course instead of an entree, and I’ve swapped some of the butter for olive oil as I found it a bit too buttery. I used a mandoline with the finest Julien setting for the zucchini. And I made it with wholemeal spaghetti which added to the flavour. You could probably also add some nuts to this, either toasted pine nuts, some slivered almonds or chopped pistachio. You could make this vegan by using all olive oil instead of butter and omitting the cheese.
Serves 4

spaghettizucchini

Ingredients
40g butter
250g baby spinach
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 medium/large zucchini, cut into matchsticks
salt for seasoning
500g Barilla wholemeal spaghetti
Grated parmesan cheese, to taste

Making it
1. Heat the butter in a pan over low heat, saute the spinach until wilted, season then transfer to a small food processor and puree until smooth

2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frypan, saute onion until softened, then add zucchini and toss for a few minutes until softened. Drain the spaghetti and add to the frypan, season then stir through the spinach puree an combine well so that all the spaghetti is well coated. Serve with parmesan cheese as desired.

Zucchini Parmigiana

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I saw this Neil Perry recipe in the Good Weekend magazine last weekend and knew it was something my vegacquarian husband would love. I did modify the recipe slightly though, as it used 1kg of fresh tomatoes, which I substituted with tinned, and I reduced the quantity of cheese from 400g to 300g.   I think some ricotta crumbled through the layers would also work beautifully. The breadcrumbs are a must, they add a wonderful texture to the dish. Aforementioned vegacquarian loved it.

Ingredients
Sauce
2 x 400g tins of whole peeled tomatoes
Salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
½ tsp raw sugar

Zucchini
6 large green zucchinis, sliced lengthways 3mm thick
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 cup plain flour, seasoned
Oil for shallow frying (I used canola)

 
100g parmesan, grated
200g mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
1 cup stale sourdough bread, roughly chopped

 

Making it
1.  For the sauce, in a frying pan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add onion and salt and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes and the sugar, and fill one of the empty tins with water and add. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break down the tomatoes if necessary. Set aside.

2.  For the zucchini, whisk together milk, eggs, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Heat some oil on a medium heat in a large frying pan for shallow-frying. Working in batches, lightly flour the zucchini slices, then dip in egg mix and fry each side until golden (about a minute each side). Drain on paper towel.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C. Using a 2 1/2-litre baking dish, layer some of the tomato sauce mix on the bottom, top with a layer of zucchini, then with layers of parmesan, mozzarella and basil. Repeat until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.

4. Meanwhile, process bread to form coarse breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and cook crumbs over a low heat until golden and crisp, set aside. Once the parmigiana is cooked garnish with the breadcrumbs and serve.

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Zucchini Frittelle

With the bounty of Summer gardens, it was the perfect time to make zucchini frittelle (zucchini fritters). Like crostoli and tiramisu, there are a thousand different versions of these, depending which Nonna you talk to. My Mamma Rosa always uses tomato in hers, and so did my mother-in-law, but a lot of versions you see don’t. Given the season for zucchini flowers is short, you can make these just with zucchini the rest of the year.  I used a 200g zucchini and 100g of flowers; if you don’t have flowers just use 300g of zucchini instead. Or, if you have an abundance of flowers like I did in my kitchen this month, you could use entirely flowers and no grated zucchini, but you will need to add some water to the mixture. You can also use plain or self raising flour (though plain is more typical) – in the ones pictured here I used self raising because when I looked in the cupboard I was out of plain (rookie mistake), and they just come out a little thicker if you do. Replace the eggs with water if you have an egg allergy. (Have I covered every possible permutation yet?).

They are a great snack, or can be part of a selection of antipasto dishes.

zucchinifrittelle

Ingredientsimkjan (8)
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
100g zucchini flowers, stamen removed, coarsely torn
1 ripe tomato, seeds removed, finely diced
Handful of basil, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmeggiano
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
salt and pepper
Canola oil, for frying

Making them
1. Using a wooden spoon, gently combine the zucchini, flowers, tomato, basil and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the egg and combine, then add the flour and gently mix until well combined

3. Heat some canola oil in a frypan, then place a heaped tablespoon in the pan, flattening slightly (or use less to make mini bite sized ones). Once golden on the bottom flip over. You should only need to turn them once. Eat warm or at room temperature (if they last long enough to get to room temperature, they never do at my place).

Leek, Zucchini and Pea Soup

zucchinisoup

I rarely buy cookbooks these days.  There are so many great recipes available in newspapers, magazines, and online that I’m less inclined to.  At one point my stash of cookbooks got unwieldy, so I went through them all and marked with post-its how many recipes in each book I would actually make. Anything with a handful or less went to charity.

SMH’s Good Food on Tuesdays (it is the only reason I buy the paper on Tuesdays) is always a good source of inspiration.  When I saw this recipe from Pete Evans, I knew it would be the perfect winter warmer. I doubt he’d serve it with bread, given he’s gone all Paleo these days, but I couldn’t resist putting a few crunch toasted bits in it.   He also used coconut oil, but I used my regular extra virgin olive oil.  Speaking of which, I’m really loving Australian oil Cobram these days; I usually buy imported Italian or Spanish, but I’ve discovered the fragrant fruitiness of Cobram, though it does come with a higher price tag.

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tbps extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
4 large zucchini, diced
200g fresh or frozen peas
1.3 litres chicken stock
4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Making it
1. Place the oil in a large saucepan and saute the leek over a medium heat for a few minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and cook for about five minutes. Add the peas and half the stock and bring to the boil.
3. Reduce the heat, add the thyme, nutmeg, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another five minutes, or until fragrant, then add the remaining stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaves and blend until smooth.

Easy and delicious!

Zucchini and Potato Frittata

Serves 8. Can be served hot or at room temperature. If zucchini flowers are available, these make a lovely decorative layer.

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Ingredients
3 large zucchini
1 brown onion
good handful of basil
sprig of rosemary
2 spring onions (shallots)
150g ricotta
100g grated parmesan
4 large potatoes
3tbsp olive oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Making it
1. Boil potatoes until just cooked, allow to cool then slice using a mandolin (3mm slices). Season lightly.
2. Slice zucchini in 3mm slices
3. Dice onion, and slice spring onions
4. Heat olive oil in a large pan and saute onion until soft, add spring onions, and finely diced rosemary
5. Add zucchini and cook for about 5 mins until softened. Allow mixture to cool slightly
6. Preheat oven to 170 degrees
7. Combine potato, zucchini mixture, parmesan, torn basil and ricotta. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Grease a 26cm springform pan, line base with baking paper which comes halfway up the sides of the pan
9. Pattern a layer of zucchini down the bottom, then layer the rest of the mixture, smoothing so nice and flat
10. Lightly beat the eggs, and pour over the top
11. Bake for 30-40 mins. Allow to rest in tin for 15 mins before turning out.

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