Zucchini – the versatile veggie goes beyond zucchini bread

What do you do when your friendly neighbor gifts you an armload of homegrown zucchini over the fence, adding to the pile you already picked up at the local farmers market? Make zucchini bread? Nope! This healthy and plentiful crop can be used in so many ways beyond bread. Zucchini is not only delicious, but also low in calories and carbs. I say, “bring it on.” If you’re looking for a couple of new ideas to add to your recipe box, try Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta Cheese or crustless Zucchini Pizza Rounds. If that’s not enough to use up your stash, you can always bake the bread.

Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta Cheese
Grated zucchini and farfalle (bowtie-shaped pasta) are surrounded by a creamy ricotta cheese sauce in this dish. It takes little time to prepare and doubles as a summer side dish or a light, meatless meal.

6 servings 12 ounces farfalle (bowtie pasta)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound zucchini, grated
1 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add zucchini to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cooked pasta. Heat oven to broil. Transfer pasta mixture to an oven safe dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbling.

Zucchini Pizza Rounds
A tasty snack or fun appetizer, these crustless pizzas can be made with any toppings of your choice – try diced onion and bell peppers, mushrooms, sliced black olives or turkey sausage crumbles. 18 appetizers

1 large or 2 medium zucchini
1 cup marinara sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Mini pepperoni pieces
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds. Lay zucchini slices on paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt to release excess water. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Arrange zucchini slices on the foil-lined pan. Top each slice with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle each with oregano. Add mini pepperoni pieces and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 7 minutes or until the zucchini is soft. Turn on the broiler and broil until cheese is brown and bubbly. Sprinkle rounds with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

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