Let’s start off by teaching those of you what the word “PATCHKA” means. It’s the Yiddish term loosely used as: “more work than it’s worth”. In other words, it’s fiddly diddly.So, when I started making this dish, I learned two things.
- I hate mandolins
- I hate patchka’ing around with things that should only take a few minutes to do, but end up taking an hour.
Why am I admitting this to you? Because as my readers, you have a choice. If you are really game to patchka around and make this dish look like it does in these pictures, go right ahead. If you don’t have the time to stuff and roll a million zucchini slices, there is another option.Like what? You can 100% make the same dish by layering the zucchini slices as you would in a lasagna. I took it upon myself to stand in the kitchen and do this for no reason other than having this look pretty. Dumb, but that’s the way I roll my zucchini’s.Oh, and another thing. I know that size doesn’t always matter, but in this case it does. Normally I would scout for smaller, more tender zucchini for cooking, BUT this is one recipe situation where bigger is better. Look for the biggest, straightest zucchini you can find.
This wasn’t the case when I approached the produce section this week. I could only find small zucchini’s. Basically, I got the short end of the stick, but I made it work.One thing I learned from my mom over the years. I think I may have mentioned this before, but her motto is – “it doesn’t have to look good to taste good”.
Well?In my line of work, that doesn’t fly, so here’s some patchakalocious Zucchini Rollatini’s for ya.You can definitely make these for any dinner of the week, at any time of the year and the best part is, they are gluten-free and vegetarian. Win win.This is a delish, veggie loaded dish! Once you get the hang of doing the strips of zucchini, then stuffing them with a yummy five cheese filling. The rolling stage is the fun part if you have nothing else to do. Topped with a fresh marinara sauce, fresh parmesan and baked until the cheese is hot and ooey gooey. Yassssss!
- 5 - 6 small zucchini, ends trimmed (or 2 -3 large zucchini for larger rolls)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ sweet onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups smooth ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup shredded Italian four cheese blend
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- ⅓ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- Garnish with fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 375F and lightly grease a 7 x 11 inch ceramic casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise. Use a mandolin or vegetable peeler and try to get them to about ⅛ inch in thickness. This will ensure that the zucchini rolls up without snapping in half. You should get 8 to 10 slices per zucchini.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and nicely browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, stir the onion and garlic with the ricotta, egg and shredded four cheese blend. Season with oregano, parsley, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
- Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce into the prepared casserole dish and spread it out.
- Place a slice of zucchini on a cutting board or large platter.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling at the shortest end of the zucchini slice then roll the zucchini into a tight spiral. (NOTE - If the zucchini slices are larger, use 2 tablespoons of the filling for each roll) Place each roll into the prepared dish.
- Repeat with the remaining zucchini and filling.
- Pour the remaining cup of marinara sauce evenly over the zucchini spirals, then sprinkle with an even layer of fresh Parmesan cheese.
- Place the casserole into the oven and bake until the cheese on top is golden brown and the zucchini is tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Let sit for five minutes, garnish with basil and serve warm.