This is not a quick and easy recipe to make after work, but a great recipe to make on the weekend (and worth the time). We also had great leftovers. This recipe comes from Carolyn Ketchum (one of my favorite cooks) at asweetlife.org. This recipe uses thinly sliced zucchini in the place of noodles. Nutritional info: Calories from fat: 262, Carbs 10.72g, total dietary fiber 1.89 g, protein 30.72g.
- 3 large zucchini, about 12 ounces each
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I prefer to add 1/2 tsp.)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup full-fat ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used flakes)
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 12 ounces shredded mozzarella
- Preheat grill to medium (temperature should only be about 300 to 350F).
- Cut each zucchini in half crosswise and then slice each half lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
- Grill zucchini slices until they are tender and much of the moisture has been removed, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and set aside on layers of paper towels to continue drying out. Alternatively, roast zucchini at 350 degrees in the oven on wire baking racks for about 20 minutes.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook through, breaking up any clumps with the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, ricotta, parmesan, basil, egg, garlic and salt. Stir to combine well.
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Lay 1/3 of the zucchini slices across the bottom in a single layer. Spread with 1/3 of cream cheese/ricotta mixture, then 1/3 of meat sauce and 1/3 of the mozarella. Repeat these layers 2 more times.
- Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or so, until cheese on top is beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.