Showing posts with label courgette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label courgette. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ratatouille calzones

Calzones de ratatouille / Ratatouille calzones

Last week I told Joao that for the weekend I wanted to make something different for lunch: I was not in the mood for pasta or for the good old rice and beans combo, and I definitely wanted to try my hands at a new recipe.

Going through the vegetables in my fridge I found one eggplant, one zucchini, a couple of carrots and that was it: not much to choose from. So I kept the carrots for some other time and used the eggplant and the zucchini to make a sort of ratatouille, adding tomato paste and olive to make the mixture more interesting. Mixed with cheese it became the filling for these calzones and I bring you this recipe with a very proud smile: the calzones turned out so good!

Apparently going through the crisper drawer might be a good creative exercise. :D

The recipe yields 8 large calzones, which is too much for the both of us for one meal, so I froze the remaining calzones and we ate them for dinner yesterday. If you want to do the same, just wait for the calzones to cool completely, wrap in foil and place them in a plastic bag, sealing well. Once the calzones are thawed, 10 minutes in a hot oven are enough to make them delicious again.

Calzones de ratatouille / Ratatouille calzones

Ratatouille calzones
own recipe

2 teaspoons dried yeast
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (300ml) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (420g) all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons table salt

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ small onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium zucchini (240g), in 1cm-cubes
1 medium eggplant (300g), in 1cm-cubes
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry white wine
10 large black olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 ½ cups (150g) coarsely grated yellow mozzarella*
3 tablespoons coarsely grated parmesan
2 teaspoons dried oregano

After assembling the calzones:
olive oil, for brushing
finely grated parmesan, for sprinkling over the calzones

Start with the dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the yeast, sugar and water with a fork. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, flour and salt and mix for 6-8 minutes or until a soft and elastic dough forms. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size – mine proved for 90 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling: heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring occasionally until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant – do not let it burn or it will get bitter. Stir in zucchini, eggplant and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are softer. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes – it is important to cook it thoroughly to avoid the raw tomato aftertaste. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the olives. Remove from the heat, cool completely, discard the bay leaf and then stir in the cheeses and the oregano.

Preheat the oven to 420°F/220°C. Have ready two large baking sheets.
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts – each will be around 100g (3 ½ oz.). Roll out each portion of dough on a lightly floured surface until you get a rough 25cm (10in) circle. Place about ½ cup of the filling on one side of the dough and fold the other half over, pinching the seams well to keep the filling inside – since vegetables can vary in size, if you have a scale weigh the filling and divide it equally in 8 portions. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling. Place the calzones onto the sheets and brush them with the olive oil and sprinkle with the parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.

* the yellow mozzarella I used is not like fresh mozzarella balls, therefore it does not release too much liquid. Replace by cheddar or something similar texture wise.

Makes 8

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Orecchiette with courgette and goat’s cheese sauce

Orecchiette with courgette and goat’s cheese sauce / Orecchiette com molho de abobrinha e queijo de cabra

This food stylist wannabe got crazy when she saw yellow courgettes in farmer’s market for the first time – until then I had only seen it on books, magazines and food TV shows. Of course I brought some home and immediately thought of something tasty and visually beautiful to make with it.

For this recipe I used red onion so I could have a nice color contrast, however after that day I made this pasta several other times using regular onions and courgettes and it was flavorsome anyway.

Orecchiette with courgette and goat’s cheese sauce
own recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ large red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 courgette (about 350g/12oz), sliced in half lengthwise and then sliced into thin half moons
finely grated zest of 1 lime
handful of fresh marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons dry white wine
¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream
35g goat’s cheese, coarsely grated or crumbled
200g orecchiette pasta

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente (follow the instructions in the package). In the meantime, make the sauce: in a large frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil until butter is melted. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute only – do not let it burn or it will be bitter. Add the courgette and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lime zest and the marjoram. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the cream and the cheese and cook just until the cheese melts.

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and stir into the sauce – if sauce is too thick, stir in a bit of the cooking water to loosen it up. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Other ideas: this recipe tastes great if gorgonzola and fresh oregano are used instead of goat’s cheese and marjoram.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stuffed zucchini, not like my grandma's

Stuffed zucchini / Barquinhas de abobrinha

One of the dishes that remind me of my grandmother the most is stuffed zucchini: she would make these quite often when she lived with us because my father liked it a lot.

I did not like meat growing up and back then I did not understand why my grandma would make this dish so often, but now that I am all grown up it makes a lot of sense to me: it is delicious – when prepared properly – and it makes things quite easier for the cook, since you only need a green salad on the side to call it a complete meal.

This is my version of stuffed zucchini: out with the mushy rice mixed with pale beef, in with with wine, tomatoes, fresh marjoram and gorgonzola – absolutely delicious (sorry, grandma). :)

Stuffed zucchini / Barquinhas de abobrinha

Stuffed zucchini
own recipe

4 zucchini, about 250g/8oz each
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
400g (14oz) beef mince
salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
handful of fresh marjoram leaves
150g (5oz) gorgonzola, coarsely grated or crumbled
finely ground parmesan, for serving

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and brush it with some of the olive oil.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise – you should then get 8 halves that look like little boats. With a small spoon, scrape some of the flesh – do not carve the zucchini halves too much or they will be too flimsy. Chop the flesh and set aside. Place the zucchini on the prepared sheet and brush the inside of each half with some of the olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes – in the meantime, make the filling: heat the remaining olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant – do not let the garlic burn or it will turn bitter. Stir in the mince and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Season with salt and pepper – go easy on the salt since the cheeses can be salty. Stir in the wine and cook again for 2-3 minutes or until wine is reduced – using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits in the bottom of the saucepan for extra flavor. Stir in the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, ¾ cup of the reserved zucchini flesh (you can freeze the remaining flesh and use it to make vegetable stock) and the marjoram. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the gorgonzola and divide the meat filling among the zucchini halves. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the parmesan and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Zucchini and chorizo risotto - a truly delicious recipe

Zucchini and chorizo risotto / Risoto de abobrinha e chorizo

You might think that I obsess over sweet ingredients only – and taking a look at the blog, who can blame you? :) – but some savory ingredients make me so happy I want to include them in just about anything. Chorizo is one of them: ever since I tried it for the first time I have been using it in several dishes, always with delicious results.

I make risottos often and it was only a matter of time before I added chorizo to them, however, I was trying to play with different textures and wanted to add layers to my risotto. Adding the crunchy bits of chorizo on top was one of the ideas, which turned out to be a win/win situation, since I used the fat rendered from the chorizo to coat the rice and removing it from the saucepan before adding the liquid I avoided it from going soft. I also wanted two different textures for the zucchini, so half of it was thinly sliced and grilled – which added a nice smoky flavor – and the other half was incorporated in the risotto. I do not mean to brag, but this is one of the most delicious dishes I have ever cooked.

Zucchini and chorizo risotto
own recipe

Grilled zucchini:
1 large zucchini (about 200g/7oz)
olive oil

For the risotto:
50g (2oz) chorizo sausage, in small cubes
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter – divided use
½ small onion, finely diced
1 sprig of fresh thyme
¾ cup (165g) Arborio or Carnaroli rice
¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine
3 cups (720ml) hot vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g (2oz) Canastra cheese, coarsely grated*
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Slice half the zucchini into thin slices and dice the remaining in to small cubes. Set the cubes aside (they will go in the risotto). Drizzle the zucchini slices with just a bit of oil and season with salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and grill the zucchini slices for 1-2 minutes each side or just until golden. Set aside on a plate.

Heat the chorizo cubes in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so the pieces brown evenly. As soon as they are crispy, remove them from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter to the saucepan , followed by the onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent. Add the zucchini cubes and the thyme sprig and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until rice is nicely coated in the fat. Stir in the wine and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the hot stock, 1 ladleful at a time, and continue to cook, stirring until all the stock is absorbed, before adding more stock.

Repeat this until all the stock has been used, the rice is al dente and the risotto is thick and glossy – about 20 minutes (you might not use all the stock). Season with salt and pepper, but go easy on the salt since chorizo and parmesan might be salty.
When the rice is al dente, remove the thyme sprig and stir in the cheeses and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Check the seasoning, put the lid on and wait 2 minutes. Transfer the risotto to the serving plates, top each with the grilled zucchini slices and the crispy chorizo and serve immediately.

* for this recipe I used a kind of cheese typical from Brazil called Canastra cheese. Feel free to replace it with Grana Padano, more parmesan or any other cheese you like – just keep in mind that chorizo can be salty, so very salty cheeses might not go well in this recipe

Serves 2

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stripy courgette, tomato and polenta tart

Stripy courgette, tomato and polenta tart / Torta de polenta, tomate e abobrinha

New cookbooks can be a lovely surprise, a big disappointment or something in between – even with the “Search Inside” feature at Amazon I’ve had my share of regret buying some of them.

My latest purchase, however, was an epic win: I got Annie Rigg’s beautiful cookbook on fruit and Georgina Fuggle’s Take One Veg, and they’re both insanely beautiful – I feel like making each and every recipe on both of them, for there is nothing tricky despite the deliciousness of everything.

I made one of Rigg’s recipes and it was wonderful, but more on that later on this week – Georgina’s idea of using polenta as a tart base was such a hit at home that I had to share it with you: even my husband ate it gladly, and that is certainly something not to be taken lightly. The tart was a cinch to make and served with a green salad it was a delicious meal, one that I plan on repeating with different vegetables.

Stripy courgette, tomato and polenta tart
slightly adapted from the absolutely delicious Take One Veg: Over 100 Tempting Veggie Recipes for Simple Suppers, Packed Lunches and Weekend Cooking

500ml hot vegetable stock
140g polenta - since the recipe doesn't state what kind of polenta it is, I used this one (I was out of instant polenta)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons crème fraîche – I used homemade sour cream
1 small courgette, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced into thin slices
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Start by making the polenta crust: bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan and pour the polenta into the water. Keep your pan over a low heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly, thrashing out any lumps that try to form. Continue for around 6 minutes until the polenta is very thick.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan and stir until they have disappeared. Cool for 5 minutes, then stir through the beaten egg and season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly – in the meatime, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Lightly grease a square 21cm tart pan with olive oil (I used butter). Put the polenta in the centre and, using a spatula or oiled fingers, gently tease it up the sides of the pan to create the sides of the crust.
Smother a thin layer of crème fraîche over the base of your tart and top with half the Parmesan. On top of the cheese, alternate slices of courgette and tomato. Finish with the thyme leaves and the remaining Parmesan.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/350°F and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove and allow the tart to cool for 5-10 minutes to allow it to ‘come to’. Serve in slices.

Serves 4 – I made the recipe above using a 30x10cm (12x4in) tart pan – there was a bit of polenta left that I formed into pancake, grilled on both sides with a tiny bit of olive oil until golden and topped with cheese and dried oregano for a snack (there is a photo here).

The recipes says it serves 4, but the tart I made was polished off by 2 served with a green salad! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pesto & courgette pasta bake for a courgette-eating husband

Pesto & courgette pasta bake / Rigatoni de forno com pesto e abobrinha

Those of you who cook for picky eaters know the feeling, I’m sure: when the person who always hated something starts eating that very thing it feels like a small victory.

When my husband decided to try mushrooms for the first time in his life and liked them, I started adding mushrooms to our meals and it was such a good thing (the vegetarian Bolognese is, indeed, delicious and I love cooking that recipe). Now that he’s come to the conclusion that he doesn’t really hate courgettes I have been adding them to our meals quite regularly, and this pasta bake was a really tasty way of having the vegetable.

I tweaked the recipe a bit – the original version called for crème fraîche, for instance, which I replaced for homemade ricotta – and got a lighter dish as a reward, not to mention the recipe is easy and tasted great: the crunchy bread and cheese topping makes the pasta extra special.

Pesto & courgette pasta bake
adapted from the always delicious Good Food magazine

150g rigatoni
1/3 cup basil pesto
200g ricotta – I used homemade
200g courgettes, coarsely grated
½ cup finely grated parmesan, divided use
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g fresh breadcrumbs
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the pack instructions say, so that it has a little more bite. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, mix the pesto, ricotta, courgettes and half the parmesan together. Add the pasta and stir well, adding a little of the reserved water to create a good sauce consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Tip the pasta and sauce into a shallow baking dish and scatter over the breadcrumbs, then the remaining parmesan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes or until the topping is crisp.

Serves 2

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Courgette, tomato and roasted red pepper gratin and baby talk

Courgette, tomato and roasted red pepper gratin / Gratinado de abobrinha, pimentão assado e tomate

My sister-in-law and I talk about my baby nephew a lot, and we always talk about the food he’ll eat when he grows up – my brother is the pickiest eater I know and we know that he’ll have to change in order to become a good example for the boy.

I tell her to calm down because my husband used to be just like that and now he tries lots of different types of food (I guess we’ll have to organize a trip to China for my brother as well). :D

For instance, my husband always tells me how much he hated gratins as a kid, especially the potato gratin his mother made constantly back in the day. He also hated courgettes. Just so you know, he ate the gratin in the picture like crazy and told me that I can make that dish whenever I want because “it is so delicious”.

People change, thank heavens. There’s still hope for my brother. :D

Courgette, tomato and roasted red pepper gratin
slightly adapted from the always delicious Olive magazine

1 small red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
½ large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 x 400g (14oz) can peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil leaves
350g large courgettes, halved in the widest part, cut into 5mm slices
75g coarsely grated cheddar salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C/420°F. Put the red pepper on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning it once or twice, until the skins are blackened in places and the flesh is soft. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, seal with plastic wrap and leave to cool. Break the pepper open, discard the stalk and seeds, peel off the skin and slice the flesh into thin strips.

While that goes on, make the tomato sauce: in a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and the sugar. Fill 1/3 of the can with water, swirl it around and add to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, break the tomatoes with a wooden spoon then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the basil, stir to combine, cover and remove from the heat.

Heat a large, ridged griddle until smoking hot, then lower the heat slightly. Toss the courgette slices in the other tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, then griddle in batches for 2 minutes on each side until marked with dark lines. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Spread half the sauce over a medium, shallow baking dish. Scatter half the griddled courgettes over the tomato sauce, followed by half the red pepper strips and half the grated cheese. Spoon over the remaining tomato then repeat the layers once more, ending with the grated cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden and bubbling.

Serves 2 generously

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Caponata - easy and delicious


Caponata is something I ate a lot growing up, but never knew the real name – my grandmother used to make it all the time, especially when there were a lot of people to feed, and she served it with bread or on small toasts, canapé style. I loved it and would ask her to make it again and again – I used to call it “my grandma’s eggplant dish”, having no idea it was such a staple of Italian cuisine.

It took me forever to make caponata myself, maybe because it has always been something so attached to my grandma’s cooking, but my husband asked me to make it and I decided to give it a go, especially after going through some of my books and finding a recipe by Andrew Carmellini on one of my favorite cookbooks – it is his the most delicious gnocchi I’ve ever made, and I ate at both Lafayette and Locanda Verde when I was in NYC, so I trust the guy. ;)

Andrew’s caponata is very easy to put together and it tastes great, not to mention it benefits from a day of two in the fridge – I’m all for making things in advance, so this recipe has become part of my repertoire and I hope it becomes part of yours, too.


slightly adapted from the delicious Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food

1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced large
1 yellow pepper, diced large
1 Italian eggplant, diced large
3 stalks of celery, diced large
1 zucchini, diced large
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 400g (14oz) can chopped peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar – I used sherry vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepot over high heat. Add the onion, pepper and eggplant. When the vegetables have softened a bit (about 5 minutes), add the celery and zucchini. Season with half the salt and black pepper. Mix the ingredients together and continue to cook.

After ten 10 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and let the steam roast the vegetables for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not falling apart and the tomatoes are well incorporated. Mix in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove the saucepot from the heat, add the thyme and season with remaining salt and pepper (add more salt to taste if necessary). Mix in vinegar.

The caponata can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days (I thought it tasted better the day after it was made).

Serves 8-10

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Courgette and feta fritters, a crazy trailer and a versatile young actor

Courgette and feta fritters / Bolinhos de abobrinha e feta

Unfortunately I don’t have time to read all the websites and blogs I like (and I’m sure you don’t either so thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate it), but not a day goes by that I don’t visit IMDb for news on the world of cinema.

Yesterday, in one of those visits, I watched the trailer for Horns and it immediately became one of the most interesting/craziest trailers I have even seen. Daniel Radcliffe’s choices in movies and theater have been very diverse and I find it honorable that he’s interested in doing such different things, stretching himself as an actor: he does controversial, he does dark comedy, and romantic comedy as well – who can forget him staring in Equus years ago? So young, yet so versatile – I really admire that.

Daniel is versatile, all right, and so are fritters: they can be pretty much made with any vegetable in your fridge and it’s a nice vessel for them if there’s any picky eater around. These courgette fritters turned out delicious and tender – they were fast to prepare and vanished even faster. :D

Courgette and feta fritters
slightly adapted from two great sources: A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes and Nigella Fresh

1 large courgette
1 spring onion, finely chopped
handful parsley leaves, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
50g feta cheese, grated
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, for frying

Coarsely grate the courgette and spread it onto a clean kitchen towel. Set aside for 20 minutes to get rid of any excess moisture.
Transfer the courgette to a large mixing bowl, add the spring onion, parsley, egg, feta and flour, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. If batter is too thin, add a bit more flour.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Dollop two tablespoons of batter per fritter, flatten with the back of a spoon and shape the edges quickly to form a rough circle. Don’t overfill the frying pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the process with remaining batter.

Serve at once with lime wedges.

Makes 6

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