zucchini involtini with swiss chard & ricotta

So folks.  We are at day 8 of our 30-day challenge.  Week 2.  Hope week 1 was successful for those of you joining in with us.  I didn’t post a primal recipe yesterday …decided that Sunday should be my day of rest.  You know, to enjoy time with my family kind of a day.  But for now, back to reality.  I have so many ideas to share with you.  Today’s recipe is for a zucchini “roll-up” that is stuffed with lemony ricotta and baked on a bed of tomato sauce.  My kind of dish.  Perfect along with grilled chicken and a green salad.  Or just by itself.

The tricky part of this is to get your zucchini sliced up in fairly even strips of about 1/4″ to 1/3″.  You can stand them up on end and slice downward.  Or lie the zucchini flat on the cutting board and carefully slice along the length keeping the knife parallel to the surface as you go.

Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle them with some olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  They’ll bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or just long enough so that they become pliable …so that you can roll them in a coil.  Don’t worry about them browning at this time.  That will happen later in the process.

While the zucchini slices are in the oven, prepare the filling.  The swiss chard is finely chopped and sauteed in olive oil just until it begins to wither.  Once cooled, it is added to the ricotta which has been flavored with lemon zest and fresh thyme.

The delicious creaminess is lightly spread onto each zucchini slice.  Once rolled up, they are placed in an ovenproof pan or baking dish that is waiting patiently with a cushion of tomato sauce.

These really are easy to make and assemble once you master the proper thickness for each zucchini slice.  They need to be thick enough that the filling won’t break through as you roll them.  And baked just long enough to be pliable for rolling.  They are truly worth the effort.  So delicious.  And low-carb!!

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zucchini involtini with swiss chard & ricotta

Adapted from Alexandra Stafford on Food52

Low-carb and delicious, by itself or served with grilled chicken or fish. 

Servings 3 to 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces swiss chard leaves, finely chopped (stems removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato or marinara sauce
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. Line a sheet pan (or two, if needed) with parchment paper or Silpats, or rub lightly with olive oil.  Trim the stem end of each zucchini.  Stand each vertically, and make 1/4-inch thick cuts down to create long slices—they don't have to be perfect.  Or lie the zucchini flat on the cutting board and carefully slice along the length keeping the knife parallel to the surface as you go.  

  3. Arrange the slices on the prepared sheet pan(s) and drizzle the zucchini lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pan(s) to the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the zucchini is pliable enough to be rolled into a coil.   Remove pan(s) from the oven.  

  4. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan set over high heat, heat the tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering.  Add the chopped chard leaves, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté, rearranging with tongs as necessary.  Cook the chard for about 2 minutes or until wilted.  Remove pan from heat.

  5. To make the filling, in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  When chard has cooled briefly, stir it into the ricotta mixture.  Taste mixture.  Add more salt to taste—this is your chance to make sure the filling is seasoned properly.

  6. Spoon tomato sauce into two 9-inch round baking dishes or one 9x13-inch baking dish—the bottom of the dish should be covered in a thin layer.  Place a spoonful (about 2 teaspoons) of filling at one end of each of the zucchini slices.  Roll the slice into a tight coil and place it seam-side down in the dish on top of the tomato sauce.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce has reduced slightly and is bubbling, and the rolls are lightly golden on top, about 25 minutes.  If the rolls are still not golden after the 25 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and preheat the broiler.  Broil the involtini for about 3 minutes keeping a close watch the entire time. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle finely grated Parmesan over the top.

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