Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Zucchini-Ricotta Layers with Pesto

Okay, he won me over again. Boulud and I are back on speaking terms.

I think I finally figured out how to do this French cooking thing while retaining what little sanity I have and eating before 9PM. It's simple really, I stopped making every picky little thing the recipe called for, concentrating instead on the main bit of the meal. I never thought I'd be celebrating the use of pre-packaged ingredients but it saved the meal tonight and we ate at 7:30 which left us time to watch the new show with Nathan Fillion in it. This is always a good thing.

The only semi complicated thing I involved myself in was making tuiles which was exciting and afforded me the opportunity to say the word tuiles oh about three dozen times in a single evening. As soon as the fella walked in the door I couldn't help but scream, “Come to the kitchen, my tuiles let me show you them.” At which point two of them fell on the floor, a sacrifice to our canine vacuum cleaner.

However I did not get involved in the pesto making which included blanching zucchini and doing other multi stepped complicated things to it. I just bought a decent jar of pesto I know I will use for other recipes. I also did not let myself get pulled into the two page recipe for tomato confit, it sounds delicious but sundried tomatoes worked just as well.

The zucchini and ricotta bits were a snap and while the zucchini was roasting I had time to make rosemary lemon chicken. It all got done at the same time, wonder of wonders. And it was all delicious, I didn't even mind the esoteric plating ritual to create the layers the recipe called for. I will make this again and if I have the time I might even give the pesto making a go.

It's so pretty it's making me hungry all over again.

Zucchini-Ricotta Layers with Zucchini Pesto

1/2 cup fined grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 300 and center a rack in the middle of the oven.

On a non stick baking sheet make eight circles, each about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, sprinkling cheese in an even layer until you can't see the pan through the cheese. Bake for about 2 minutes (it took about 5 minutes in my oven) or until cheese melts and just begins to brown. Very carefully use a plastic scraper to ease the rounds off the pan. If you want them flat let them cool on the pan after loosing them. For curved tuiles drape them over a rolling pin quickly before they cool and become fragile.

Set aside to top zucchini layers with.

3 tablespoons oil
2 medium zucchini
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 sprig thyme, leaves removed

3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon parsley
1 egg yolk (optional-I skipped it)
1 tablespoon oil

12 pieces sun dried tomato
black olives and pine nuts for garnish

Raise heat of oven to 375. Line large baking sheet with foil and use about 1 tablespoon of oil to grease foil.

Cut the zucchini on the bias into slices that are about 3 inches long and ¼ inch thick. Arrange the slices in single layers on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the remaining oil then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle garlic and thyme leaves over zucchini. Bake about 12 minutes or until just tender.

Meanwhile make ricotta mix by whisking together all the ricotta ingredients in a small bowl, then salt and pepper to taste.

To serve construct on a small dinner plate. Spoon some pesto into the center of the plate and top with 3 zucchini slices, then a spoonful of ricotta, and 2 pieces of tomato to make first layer. Then 3 more zucchini slices, another spoonful of ricotta, and another piece of tomato. Circle plate with more pesto and top it all with olive halves, pine nuts and cheese tuiles.

Original recipe from Cafe Boulud Cookbook.

No comments: