The Great Zollatini


I married a vegetable hater. There it is, but I was misled during courtship when he agreed that asparagus tasted better in the spring. It was October so I didn’t seek proof. If you face a similar situation whether it’s vegetables or something else entirely you know that it’s hard to give up trying to find just the thing that might be the exception. Well, thirty years into it we may have found the ONE. Granted there was cheese involved, but the vegetable was the star. That vegetable was zucchini cut into thin strips and rolled around a delicious filling of light ricotta cheese then baked in a savory tomato sauce. It was a beautiful dish. However, this dyed in the wool vegetable hater has been presented with many beautiful dishes before and just turned up his stubborn snout. Somehow this magic recipe was the one to break the mold. Maybe it was the aroma – cheese and tomato sauce are hard to resist. Maybe it was me – it must a challenge to continue to disappoint a determined and dedicated cook. But in all likelihood, it  just looked too good to resist. This dish was fun to make. The filling was just ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, and garlic – plus an egg to hold it all together. Thin strips of zucchini rolled up more easily when blanched for 60 seconds, and a favorite jar of tomato sauce worked perfectly. It’s that easy. I feel like a rock star or maybe just a mad scientist but any way you look at it the code has been cracked and we now have vegetable success. You may be fortunate enough to live with non-picky eaters or just be one yourself, but either way, whoever you decide to make this recipe for will be a lucky person. They will love it and you will too. Enjoy!

Zollatini Rolls


2 large zucchini, cut in thin strips (use knife, vegetable peeler, or mandoline)


1 oz container ricotta cheese (lowfat)


¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup basil leaves

½ tsp salt

1 jar pasta sauce


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.

Add zucchini slices and boil for one minute – remove from water and drain on paper towels.

In a food processor or blender combine ricotta, (reserve 3 tablespoons for topping) parmesan, egg, garlic, basil and salt.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray.


Put one rounded teaspoon on the end of each zucchini slice and roll up lengthwise.

Place each roll open end up in prepared casserole dish.

Cover rolls with pasta sauce and top with reserved ricotta cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese begins to melt. 

© Deer One Publishing 2019