I’m heading to Italy very soon for a culinary experience.  It is my first trip to Italy…notice I say “first.”  I understand that once you go, you will want to go back, OR, even move there!  I will be in the Tuscan/Chianti region for a full week, and I will be cooking with the Italian Mammas.  Check them out – and or  I am so excited!

Back in August when I booked this trip, it happened to be zucchini season.  In honor of booking this trip for myself, I decided to try an Italian zucchini recipe of Mary Ann Esposito’s that I had been saving for over 4 years in my “Italy” dream travel folder. 

As Mary Ann remarks in her brief comment about this recipe, an Italian kitchen without zucchini is unthinkable.  She refers to this recipe as being on the edge of cucina alta (gourmet cooking) because here, the technique used in preparing the zucchini is not classic, such as to sauté, pickle, or boil.


Zucchini and Summer Squash Bundles



1 cup ricotta cheese, well drained

Zest of 1 large lemon

1 tablespoon finely minced parsley

1 teaspoon finely minced thyme

¼ teaspoon salt

Grinding black pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 medium zucchini at least eight inches long

2 medium yellow summer squash at least 8 inches long

Olive oil spray

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Beat the ricotta cheese with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in the lemon zest, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and walnuts and set aside.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill.

Trim the zucchini and squash ends.  Slice each into four ¼-inch thick lengthwise strips and place them on a baking sheet.  Spray the slices with olive oil on both sides and place them in a single layer on the grill.  Grill on both sides until the strips are soft but not mushy.  Transfer them to the baking sheet to cool.

Top a summer squash strip with a zucchini strip; trim ends if necessary to make them even.  Spread a thin layer of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the zucchini strip.  Start at one end and roll the strips up together like a jelly roll.  Make seven more.  Place two rolls on each of 4 plates.

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan and pour a little over each plate.  Serve.  Makes 4 servings.

Note: If you do not have a grill, place the strips on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil spray, and bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until they soften.  Then proceed with the recipe.

Saving time: make and refrigerate the filling up to two days ahead.

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

 Filled Bundles and Rounds

Note:  This was a good recipe for summer and the filling can be made ahead.  I found the rounds easier to work with.  I just got tired of trying to make the strips uniform, and I’m not good at rolling neatly. 

When I return, I will share my culinary experience and the recipes I tried while cooking with the Tuscan Mammas, Mimma and Franca. 

This is where I’ll be…and,

these are the lovely ladies I’ll be cooking with!

Ciao!  Susanna

11 thoughts on “Ciao!

  1. i’m here in italy right now, leading a culinary tour of liguria, cinque terre, chianti and firenze! it’s beautiful, and peaceful at this time of year, now that the hordes of vacationers have gone. have a delicious trip, susan!

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