• 1 ¼ cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • ½ clove garlic(Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 extra large zucchini
  • 9toothpicks, soaked in water
  • ¼ cup pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).


  • Step 2

    Mix ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, and pepper together in a bowl.

  • Step 3

    Grind basil, oil, and garlic together into a chunky paste using a mortar and pestle. Add pine nuts to the pesto; grind to the size of small peddles.

  • Step 4

    Slice zucchini lengthwise into strips using a mandoline.

  • Step 5

    Arrange 2 zucchini strips in the shape of a cross. Spoon some of the ricotta cheese mixture in the middle of the cross. Top with a dollop of pesto. Fold ends into the center to create a parcel, starting from the bottom end and moving clockwise. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining zucchini strips, ricotta cheese mixture, and pesto.

  • Step 6

    Spread some of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Arrange zucchini parcels on top, spacing them 1/2 inch apart. Spoon a bit of pasta sauce on top of each parcel. Sprinkle Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

  • Step 7

    Bake in the preheated oven until sauce and zucchini begin to brown, about 20 minutes.

  • Cook's Note:

    Toast the pine nuts if desired.

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