Breaded Zucchini Stuffed with Lemon Basil Ricotta
2 medium zucchini
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup corn meal (optional)
¼ tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil, oregano, thyme (or 1 TBSP Italian spices)
Pinch of salt
Olive oil, for frying
Slice zucchini lengthwise as thinly as possible. Place beaten egg mixture in a wide, shallow pan or bowl. Mix together bread crumbs, corn meal and seasonings and place in a separate shallow pan or plate. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. I used a non stick ceramic skillet in order to decrease the amount of oil needed. Take a strip of zucchini and submerge it completely in the beaten egg. Then place in the bread crumb mixture and using your hands or a spoon, cover zucchini completely. Repeat with all strips. Place strips in skillet. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on either side. Thicker pieces will take longer. Do not cook until mushy; strips will have more cooking time in the oven once stuffed.
If you prefer to bake the zucchini strips, place on a silicon lined baking sheet and bake at 400⁰ for 15-20 minutes. You may brush them lightly with oil to achieve a more golden brown colour. Once baked, continue with stuffing steps.
Lemon-Basil Ricotta Stuffing:
475 g Ricotta cheese (I used light)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup fresh Basil, finely chopped
1 clove garlic,
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Adjust flavouring to your personal taste.
Preheat oven to 350 ⁰F. Spread a ½-1 inch thick layer of ricotta stuffing onto a cooked breaded zucchini strip. Carefully sandwich a second piece of zucchini on top of it. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices and filling. Place in an oven safe dish and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired and bake for 5 more minutes. If the top is becoming undesirably brown, cover with tin foil and continue to bake.
Serve with a large ceasar salad or your favourite pasta dish. If you aim for a refreshing meal, pair with a flavor rich red sauce pasta. If hearty and comforting are more appropriate, an alfredo or herb pesto white sauce would go wonderfully.