This is a crowd-pleasing, lighter, stovetop upgrade to a classic lasagna. It was also less time consuming to prepare. I loved the brightness from the incorporation of fresh herbs.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. I modified the method and added garlic. The grated zucchini and panko in the meatballs made them very tender. Fabulous!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (5 in my house)
1 large zucchini (about 12 oz), finely grated (about 1½ cups)(I used a food processor)
1 1/2 cups panko
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped dill, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh whole milk ricotta
finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 a large lemon
10 oz lasagna noodles, broken into 2–3 pieces (do not use oven-ready noodles)(I used DeCecco)
grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Using a sturdy wooden spoon or rubber spatula, vigorously stir grated zucchini, panko, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and kosher salt in a large bowl until combined and nearly paste-like. (I grated the zucchini medium-large because I used a food processor.)
Add ground chicken, chopped dill and parsley and mix until fully incorporated (you don’t need to worry about overmixing here; mixture will be soft). (I used a food processor to finely chop the fresh herbs.)
Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Using a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out half of meat mixture (meatballs don’t need to be perfectly round; rustic-looking is good) and add directly to pot. (I did 2 batches of 8 meatballs.)
Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Carefully turn meatballs over and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes (it’s okay if meatballs still look misshapen).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate.
Pour an additional 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil into pot and repeat process with remaining meat mixture. (the remaining 8 meatballs)
Return all meatballs to pot, the add canned tomatoes with juice, lightly crushing with your hands as you go, sliced garlic and shallot, and remaining 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; season with salt.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook meatballs and sauce, gently stirring occasionally (it’s okay if meatballs start to fall apart), until sauce is slightly thickened, 15–20 minutes. (After stirring halfway through the cooking time, I reduced the heat to low.)
Meanwhile, whisk together ricotta, grated lemon zest, and a large pinch of salt in small bowl until smooth; set aside.
Cook broken lasagna noodles in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente, about 3 minutes.
Using tongs, drop noodles into pot with sauce and cook, stirring gently, until sauce coats pasta.
Divide pasta among shallow bowls and spoon dollops of reserved lemony ricotta over each.
Top with dill and grated Parmesan, as desired.
Do ahead: Meatballs and sauce can be made 3 days ahead; let cool. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and chill. Lemony ricotta can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
I loved everything about this beautiful salad. We ate it with Turkish Grilled Chicken– such a wonderful meal. It was one of the best zucchini dishes I’ve ever made.
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Elizabeth Mindreau. It was re-created from a salad served at Coal Office, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant in London.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
about 3/4 to 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 T tahini
zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small shallot, halved and thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp za’atar
2 small/medium zucchini (12 to 16 ounces total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
ground sumac, to serve, optional
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave until the shallot is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (see Tip)
When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, dill and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge.
Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.
Tip: Don’t forget to cover the bowl containing the chickpeas and shallots when microwaving. Covering traps steam that helps wilt the shallots and soften the chickpeas. And remember to occasionally stir the chickpea-shallot mixture as it cools. This helps ensure the chickpeas evenly absorb the seasonings pooled at the bottom of the bowl while also hastening the cooling.
This healthy and delicious summer meal was quick to prepare- a great combination. The recipe caught my eye after receiving some beautiful zucchini from a neighbor. Perfect.
I was also able to use my new Japanese mortar and pestle to crack the coriander seeds. Exciting! 😉 The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, modified the roasting time and method, and served the dish over brown Basmati rice to absorb all of the wonderful pan juices.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 8 thighs)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1-inch rounds
3 large or 5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated, passed through a press or minced
2 tsp dried mint or oregano
1 tsp coriander seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef’s knife
1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
freshly squeezed lemon juice from half of a lemon, plus lemon wedges, for serving, as desired
1/2 cup torn or chiffonade fresh basil leaves, for serving
1 cup brown Basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast with a racks positioned in the center and top third of the oven.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the rice. Cover, reduce temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Place zucchini on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, and season with a little more salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine garlic, mint or oregano, coriander and red-pepper flakes. Whisk in oil.
Add chicken to the pan with the zucchini pieces and pour garlic mixture over all, tossing until well coated.
Spread chicken and zucchini in a single layer, and roast until chicken for 10 to 12 minutes. (I placed the chicken “skin side down.”)
Remove pan from the oven and flip chicken over (to “skin side up”).
Continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and zucchini is browned and caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes more, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Remove the pan from the oven and squeeze the juice from half of a lemon over the chicken and zucchini.
To serve, fill a rimmed platter with the rice. Top with the chicken and zucchini followed by a drizzle of pan juices over the top.
Garnish with basil and serve with more lemon wedges and red-pepper flakes on the side, as desired.
I have a couple more dishes featuring sweet summer corn to share. This quick stir-fry was perfect to serve after a busy day outside. After prepping the ingredients in advance, it was fully prepared in the time that it took for the rice to cook.
This recipe was (slightly) adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. The original recipe notes that peppers, peas, mushrooms, or summer squash could be substituted for the fresh corn. Great!
Yield: Serves 4
3 T oyster sauce
1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces
I love trying new ways to use summer zucchini. Making pasta sauce out of grated zucchini is absolute genius! This dish gobbled up all of the zucchini that I received in my CSA share- amazing.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. I used bucatini (our favorite) instead of spaghetti. I also modified the proportions and method. It was a vegetarian crowd-pleaser. Super quick to prepare too.
Yield: Serves 5 to 6
3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water, and to taste
16 ounces (1 pound, 450 grams) bucatini, cooked al dente (I used De Cecco)(can substitute with spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine)
2 cups (470 ml) pasta water, reserved
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 1100 to 1300 grams) zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (I used 3 large zucchini- about 8 cups grated)
1 generous cup (90 grams) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (about 2 large handfuls)
Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Set aside.
Coarsely grate the zucchini in a food processor, emptying the bowl as necessary. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the garlic, stirring it into the butter for one minute.
Add the zucchini, salt, and red pepper. Cook the zucchini, stirring from time to time, for 13 to 15 minutes. It will first let off a puddle liquid, the liquid will cook off, and the zucchini will become soft and concentrated. If the zucchini begins to brown, reduce the heat slightly.
Stir frequently for 2 more minutes until it reaches an almost spreadable consistency.
Meanwhile, boil your pasta in well-salted water until it’s 1 minute shy of fully cooked. Before you drain it, reserve 2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. (I cooked my pasta for 9 minutes.)
Pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water into the zucchini and butter mixture scraping up any browned bits.
Add the drained pasta, and cook together for 2 minutes. Use tongs to pull up the zucchini butter sauce into the pasta strands, tossing frequently, and adding some or all of the remaining pasta water as needed to loosen.
Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
Incorporate a generous half of the parmesan and basil and mix, then transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. (I served the pasta from my cast iron pan!)
This is a crowd-pleasing and quick summer dish. It was a wonderful meal served with a giant green salad. The original recipe notes that any summer vegetable, or a combination, can be used instead of the fresh corn. Chopped tomatoes, broccoli, summer squash, or even green beans would work.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I modified the proportions. Great!
Yield: Serves 6
16 oz rigatoni
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 sprigs basil, plus 1 cup leaves for serving
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or other mild red pepper flakes)
fresh corn kernels from 3 large ears
5 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high.
Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and cook sliced garlic in same pot, stirring occasionally, until light golden around edges, about 2 minutes.
Add basil sprigs and Aleppo pepper; cook, stirring, until basil is wilted, about 1 minute.
Place an ear of corn upright in a medium sized bowl. Use a knife to cut off the kernels. (The bowl will prevent the kernels from flying all over the counter.)
Add corn and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pot and cook, stirring often, until corn is mostly tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in pasta and 1 cup pasta cooking water.
Add butter and cook, stirring, until butter is melted and sauce is smooth and creamy.
Add the Parmesan in several additions, stirring after each addition until sauce is smooth.
Return sausage to pot and cook until flavors meld, about 1 minute. If needed, add additional pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Place in a serving bowl or individual shallow bowls. Top with basil leaves and more Parmesan and serve.
Baked rice is quick and easy to prepare and is really delicious. This baked rice dish was inspired by prasorizo, the classic Greek rice-and-leek dish. It makes a great vegetarian main dish or a phenomenal side. We ate it as a main dish with rotisserie chicken on the side. 😉 The freshly grated Parmesan really added richness to the meal.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. Almost any vegetable can be incorporated into the dish. I added my beautiful CSA Romanesco cauliflower (with its greens) as well as baby spinach. The original recipe suggests alternatively adding tomatoes, zucchini, and/or broccoli with the leeks, or arugula and/or sliced sugar snap peas after the dish is removed from the oven.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
4 to 5leeks (about 2 pounds), trimmed, white and pale green parts, cut lengthwise & sliced 1/4-inch thick
chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli florets, and/or cauliflower florets, optional (I used Romanesco cauliflower florets)
1/4cup raw almonds (I used raw slivered almonds), or more, to taste
1/2teaspoon red-pepper flakes
5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2cups uncooked white basmati rice
1(15-ounce) can white beans (such as cannellini or great Northern), drained and rinsed
2 1/2cups boiling water or stock
coarsely chopped spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas (I used 2 cups chopped baby spinach)
1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4cup thinly sliced or chopped basil, chives, mint or fennel fronds, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Soak sliced leeks in a bowl of water, remove with a slotted spoon or spider, then shake or pat dry.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1-inch-thick strips of lemon zest, then cut the lemon in half. Cut one half into four wedges and reserve the other half.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, combine the leeks, lemon zest strips, almonds, red-pepper flakes and olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking dish.)
If adding chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and/or cauliflower, add to the pan with the leeks. (I added Romanesco cauliflower florets.)
Season generously with salt and pepper, and arrange in an even layer. Roast until the leeks start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
Remove and finely chop the lemon zest strips, then stir the zest back into the leek mixture. Arrange in an even layer.
Sprinkle the rice evenly over the leeks, then top with the beans and 1 teaspoon salt.
Add the boiling water or stock, then seal the pan tightly with foil.
Bake until the rice is tender, 20 to 22 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
If adding spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas, add them in at this time. (I added the Romanesco cauliflower greens, ribs removed and finely sliced, as well as 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped.)
Squeeze the lemon half over the rice, then stir in Parmesan and herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges, and more Parmesan and herbs, as desired.