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It is that time of year for the Annual Oversized Zucchini Jokes. If you missed our post on nipping this problem in the bud by picking zucchini blossoms for those recipes, Italian ingenuity for all things vegetable will save your September day. Sformati are the saving grace for all sorts of vegetables. not just this green one on your doorstep. It is sort of a cross between a flan and a soufflé. They hold up well for reheating the next day, but do not try to freeze them for later reheating. Regardless of the grated or puréed vegetable you are using, always put your molds filled with the sformato mixture in a water bath. this guarantees you a nice soft exterior rather than a crust. I used the ramekins or individual soufflé molds from Pillivuyt, which from my observation bake out better than their competitors. Make a thin contrasting vegetable sauce, such as tomato or a corn ragout with herbs as a ring around each unmolded zucchini sformato and it will make a lovely end of summer presenatation.
- 2lbs+ (2kg) zucchini or other vegetable
- 1 medium onion (or equivalent in volume with leek or shallots)
- 7 oz (200g) whole milk ricotta -
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (30gr) grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- 3 tbs (30gr) olive oil (enough to film the pan)
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- Preheat oven to 365F
- Generously butter a 4-5 cup loaf pan or its equivalent in ramekins. .
- Slice the onion (or shallots or leek) and sauté in a pan with a film of olive oil.
- Clean and slice the zucchini (or other vegetable).
- When the onions are soft, add the zucchini to the pan.
- Sauté, stirring frequently for about 20-30 minutes until they are light golden and just tender.
- During this time, mix the ricotta, eggs, grated cheese, salt & pepper, nutmeg in a bowl, whisking until somewhat smooth.
- When the zucchini mixture is lukewarm, combine with the ricotta mixture and roughly purée with an immersion blender or a food processor.
- Spoon into prepared molds.
- Large mold will take up to 45 minutes to bake but individual ones will take less then 20 minutes.
- Check by inserting a thin knife as it should come out clean.
- Unmold when it is slightly cool, and serve with a sauce and garnish.
- This Italian vegetable mold is an excellent dish for children and adults, This style of sformato should have a sauce, such as slightly wilted zucchini blossoms in melted butter with herbs, or a fresh tomato sauce.
- These keep well, covered, in the fridge and then reheated slightly in a water bath.
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes a blog about food in all its aspects – recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food related issues.