It was just before I left
for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference
last spring when I visited with a friend who was teaching cooking classes for
Viking. She told me she had recently assisted Paula Lambert with a cooking
class. Paula was promoting her new cookbook, Cheese, Glorious Cheese.
Longing for the same fresh
mozzarella cheese she enjoyed while living and vacationing in
housewife turned entrepreneur, Paula Lambert founded the Mozzarella Company in
she’s been producing award-winning artisinal and gourmet cheeses for
restaurants and gourmet outlets all over
I had the opportunity to
meet Paula, a past president of IACP, while I was at the conference. She is a
bundle of energy and warmth — and full of cheesy ideas – in a good way, of
course. In Cheese, Glorious Cheese,
she shares those ideas through her recipes, which combine the freshest, most
delicious ingredients with a great variety of cheeses.
Not long ago, needing a dish
to take to a potluck dinner with friends, I tried one of the recipes from her
I was able to assemble the
Zucchini Rolls ahead of time and then just popped them into the oven for 15 to
20 minutes at the home of my hostess.
Once you’ve prepared the
zucchini planks, you’ll probably come up with several ways to stuff them. They can easily replace the noodles in your next pan of lasagna.
From soups and salads to
entrees, appetizers and even desserts, Paula introduces a wide array of cheeses
in her recipes, which allows us to explore new flavors and varieties. Although
some of those cheeses are not obtainable in
remarkable selection of cheeses available to us and that offering seems to be
growing as more people are exposed to new cheeses and make a request for them
locally. Lambert does make suggestions for substitutions.
The Zucchini Rolls with
Herbed Ricotta and Gruyere was a great first choice from the book. I’ve already
marked several more recipes in the book that I will be trying soon. Maybe the no-bake
Nutty Cream Cheese Pie will be next.
For now, though, use up some
of the zucchini sitting on your kitchen counter along with some garden-fresh herbs with this delicious recipe from
Cheese, Glorious Cheese.
Zucchini Rolls with Herbed Ricotta
- 4 large zucchini
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil, divided
- 1 (28-ounce) can peeled
tomatoes with their juices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 fresh basil leaves, cut
into thin strips
- 8 ounces (1 cup)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) shredded
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 10 large fresh basil leaves,
cut into thin strips
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground
Cut off both ends of the
zucchini and then cut them lengthwise into long slices about 1/3 inch thick.
Place the zucchini slices on the drain board on several thicknesses of paper
towels. Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and leave to drain for at least
Preheat the broiler on high
and position the rack 3 inches from the heat source.
Pour 4 tablespoons of the
olive oil into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a large baking
sheet with the olive oil. Place the zucchini slices on the baking sheet and
brush their tops with olive oil. Place beneath the heat source and broil until
browned on top. Remove from oven and turn over, using a spatula; brush the tops
with olive oil; return to the oven; and broil on the other side. Remove from
oven and set aside.
Pour the tomatoes and their
juices into the work bowl of a food processo4 fitted with a steel blade and
chop coarsely. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium
saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until it begins
to turn golden brown. Remove the saucepan from the heat, pour the tomatoes into
the pan and return it to the heat. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes,
stirring as necessary to prevent sticking, until the sauce is thick. Remove
from the heat. Add basil and set aside.
For the ricotta-gruyere
filling, mix the ricotta, gruyere, eggs, basil, oregano, salt and pepper
together in a mixing bowl until all ingredients are well combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
With the zucchini still on
the baking sheet, divide the ricotta filling among the zucchini. Use a knife to
spread the filling on the top of the zucchini slices as if you were buttering a
piece of bread. For each slice, fold one end inward and roll the zucchini to
form a spiral. Continue until all the zucchini slices are rolled up. Leaving
about 1 inch between the rolls on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and
bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the ricotta-gruyere filling is well heated and
beginning to brown.
Transfer the zucchini rolls
to a platter and drizzle the sauce over the zucchini.
To serve as a first course,
spoon several tablespoons of tomato sauce onto a plate and place two zucchini
rolls on top of sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 18 rolls,