Are you as obsessed with Chef John at Food Wishes as I am? He is hi-larious and super informative. You want to know how to make the perfect lava cake for your then-boyfriend (now fiancé) for V-Day? Not a problem, Chef John has you covered! You are in the mood for a no-fail chocolate Bundt cake with a side of sarcasm? No worries, Chef John has you covered! You have a ridiculous amount of un-planned zucchini in your refrigerator? Thank goodness, Chef John had me covered with his Zucchini and Ricotta Casserole!
I’m not the biggest zucchini fan. My fiancé isn’t a zucchini fan. Don’t ask why I have 15 pounds of it in my refrigerator. I don’t know the answer to this completely logical question. I do know, however, that I am a huge fan of this casserole. Boring, slimy zucchini be gone!
The baked ricotta atop the perfectly seasoned and cooked zucchini in this dish is really something you have to eat to believe. I wish I had added more mint. Chef John said to pack it in, but I was skeptical about zucchini and mint. I was wrong. Zucchini and mint are an amazing pairing. What did we learn here? Chef John is always right.
So, in conclusion, I don’t want to hear the excuse, “I don’t like zucchini,” until you have tried this fabulous zucchini and ricotta casserole. And did I mention it took me less than 5 minutes to prep? Five whole minutes and then into the oven it went. Mindboggling.
I served it with the leftover Lemon-Pepper Chicken from my Summer Pea Pasta. Fastest dinner all week! More time for
The Real Housewives of Orange County reading War and Peace.
Baked Zucchini and Ricotta Casserole
Chef John at FoodWishes.com
3 or 4 firm, young large zucchini
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
salt to taste [I used 2 v. large pinches]
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup (packed), thinly sliced mint leaves [seriously, pack it in]
1 cup ricotta cheese [Full fat, people! Fine. Part Skim if you must. If you must.]
cayenne to taste
Pre-heat oven to 450°
Cut off the top and bottom of the zucchini, slice it in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into triangles. Confused? Watch Chef John’s video. You’ll get a good laugh too; it’s good for the soul. Anyways, toss that zucchini in a bowl and add all the ingredients through mint. Toss it together and pour into your baking dish.
Spoon on dollops of ricotta so that about half of the zucchini is covered. Sprinkle cayenne over the top of the ricotta and zucchini. I used two small pinches.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. I kept it in there a little longer because I wanted my cheese to brown more but the bottom zucchini over cooked. Not tragically, but just enough to know that I should have removed it earlier.
*I halved this recipe for my dish shown. There is only so much zucchini one girl can eat!
UPDATE: I ate the leftovers (still yum, btw) with boiled yellow corn cut off the cob. Yeah, it was amazing. The sweet corn just added to the dish. Holy Wow. Just thought you should know.
It is important for me to note that, while I did watch trashy, reality TV last night, I have actually read War and Peace. Tolstoy is my favorite Russian author. Fun fact.