The trick to staying, ahem, healthy during Passover is eating as many veggies and fruits as you normally do. If your festive meals are front loaded with more meat than you regularly eat, it’s easy to shift to dairy or vegetarian menus, especially those that allow veggies to shine.
These zucchini boats are matzah- free so expect the filling mixture to be creamy and luxuriant rather than firm. They are best eaten soon after they come out of the oven though they may be eaten warm or at room temperature.
And speaking of matzah- free, this dish is perfect for any non-Passover meal also. It would be super served on a brunch buffet or served alongside a vegetable soup (tomato soup would be great), a green salad, roasted asparagus or peppers.
4 medium zucchini, firm and unblemished
½ lb whole milk ricotta cheese
6 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (or other firm, sharp cheese of choice), shredded. Set aside 3 Tbsp for topping
1 Tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
10 basil leaves, washed and patted dry, chopped. Reserve 2 Tb. for topping
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 Tbsp pine nuts (reserve half for topping)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Canola oil non-stick cooking spray
Wash zucchini and leave whole and untrimmed.
Place zucchini in a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Do not overcook. They should be just barely tender to the fork.
Remove zucchini from water and place on dishtowel to cool. Pat dry.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, trimming off the tip (I leave the round end but you chose).
With a melon baller, gently scrape out the flesh of each zucchini, leaving enough in the shell so that it can support the filling. Reserve scooped out flesh for another use or discard.
Pat each zucchini boat inside and out, with paper towels, to absorb as much moisture as possible.
Choose a large rectangular Pyrex pan that is large enough to hold all zucchini in one layer. Spray pan with canola oil. Place zucchini halves in pan with cavity side up. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, place ricotta, Parmesan, EVOO, eggs, lemon juice and chopped basil. Mix until combined and set aside.
In a small non-stick pan, toss pine nuts to brown. (Do not add oil to pan). Remove and add to cheese mixture.
In the same pan add a few drops of oil and sauté chopped garlic for 1-2 minutes. Do not brown. Add to cheese mixture. Season mixture with salt and pepper.
Using a teaspoon, carefully fill the zucchini boats with cheese mixture and top with reserved shredded cheese, basil leaves and pine nuts.
Bake at 350 degrees F on center rack, 20 minutes, until just golden.