SEATTLE — If you're looking for a recipe straight from Italy, look no further than "The Italian Table." Prominent cookbook author and chef Elizabeth Helman Minchilli shares her passion for Italy through sharing her favorite meals and food traditions. Minchilli joins New Day Northwest to make her pasta with smashed tomatoes and arugula and show us her ricotta stuffed zucchini.
Check out the recipe Minchilli made today on the show!
Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini:
- 1 medium potato
- 1 thick slice of country bread, with a tight, uniform crumb
- 1⁄3 cup of whole milk
- 6 small, round zucchini (about 2 pounds)
- 31/2 ounces of ground pork (about 1/2 cup)
- 31/2 ounces of ground turkey breast (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled 2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- (1/2 cup) 1/2 cup of tomato puree 1/2 cup of vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the potato in a small pot and add water to cover by about an inch. Boil the potato until done; it should be tender enough to insert a fork easily. Drain the potato and when it is cool enough to handle, slip the skin off. Mash the potato using either a fork or a food mill; place in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Soak the bread in the milk in a small bowl.
- Cut the stem end off each zucchini, about 3/4-inch down from the top, and set them aside. (These will be the little “lids” that will top each of the stuffed zucchini.) To hollow out each zucchini, use a small melon baller or spoon. (The melon baller works perfectly, with less risk of breaking through the outside of the skin.) Hold a zucchini in the palm of one hand, and with the other, gently scoop out the inner flesh, leaving a 1/3-inch-thick layer. (Save the pulp for another purpose, such as a future minestrone or pasta sauce, by freezing it.) If the zucchini doesn’t stand up on its own, trim a bit off the bottom to give it a flat surface so it doesn’t topple over; hollow out the remaining zucchini.
- To make the stuffing, add the ground pork and turkey, olive oil, salt, pepper, egg, and parsley to the potato. Add the garlic, either grating it on a Microplane or using a garlic press. Take the bread from the milk, squeeze it, and crumble it into the bowl. Using your hands, mix everything together until completely blended.
- Salt the inside of each of the zucchini, using about 1/4 teaspoon per zucchini, and then add about a tablespoon of grated Parmigiano, coating the inside. Using a small spoon, divide the stuffing among the zucchini, and put the lid on each one.
- Place the zucchini in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold all of them. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each, and season the tops with salt. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Add the tomato purée and broth to the pan, pouring them around the zucchini, and continue baking for another 30 minutes. The zucchini are done when the tines of a fork are easily inserted.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving with a bit of the pan sauce. These are good warm, as well as room temperature.
Pasta with Smashed Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula:
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 pound of cavatelli or orecchiette
- 1⁄3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound of cherry tomatoes 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
- 1 bunch of arugula or other spicy green, rinsed and dried
- 4 ounces of ricotta salata, grated (1 cup)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente.
- In the meantime, pour the olive oil into a large frying pan (big enough to hold the drained pasta later). Add the cherry tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over high heat for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have started to break down.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the tomatoes. Using the back of your spoon, smash the tomatoes to let their juices run out. Toss well to coat the pasta completely.
- Divide the pasta into six individual bowls. Scatter the arugula leaves and ricotta salata over the top. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve immediately.