Chicken & Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Parcels with Chunky Tomato Sauce
Pretty packages filled with seasoned chicken and ricotta are smothered in a vegetable-filled tomato sauce. It takes a little bit of work to cut the zucchini with a mandoline and wrap the parcels, but it’s absolutely worth it. Garnish with shaved Parmesan if you have some on hand, or simply eat as is.
Finely dice 1 zucchini to yield 2 cups; set aside. Trim ends from remaining 2 zucchini (trimmed zucchini should be approximately 8 inches long). Thinly shave zucchini lengthwise with mandoline, creating 40 strips, 1/16 inch thick. Wrap strips in two stacks in damp towels and set aside.
In an 11- to 12-inch skillet on medium, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add finely diced zucchini and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes until slightly softened. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are tender and any liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with ¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp Italian herbs and 1/8 tsp pepper. To a medium mixing bowl, transfer 1 cup vegetable mixture and cool completely. To a small saucepan, transfer remaining 1 cup mixture and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp Italian herbs and 1/4 tsp pepper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine ricotta with ¼ tsp each salt and Italian herbs and 1/8 tsp pepper; set aside.
To cooled vegetables in mixing bowl, mix in ground chicken, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp Italian herb blend and 1/8 tsp pepper.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, mist with cooking spray. Lay strips of zucchini onto a clean work surface. Brush top sides of zucchini with reserved herb oil. Place 1 strip vertically in front of you and spoon 1 tsp ricotta mixture onto center of strip. Gently press the center of a second strip horizontally over ricotta, creating a "plus" shape. Scoop mounded 2 tbsp chicken mixture onto center of the “plus.” Forming a parcel, fold strips top to bottom, bottom to top, right to left, left to right. Invert parcel folded side down onto prepared baking tray. Repeat to make 20 parcels. Brush tops of parcels with remaining herb oil. Bake for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, to saucepan with reserved vegetable mixture, add tomato purée. Bring to a simmer on low and season with ¼ tsp salt, ¾ tsp Italian herbs and 1/8 tsp pepper. When parcels are done, spoon ½ cup tomato sauce onto each of 4 plates. Top each with 5 parcels.
A sticky, garlicky Asian pear sauce is the star of this stir-fry and what makes it taste so much like the one from your local takeout joint. This is one of our team’s absolute favorite dishes of the issue – we highly recommend it! If you have a little more time on your hands, try making the garlic chips as a crispy topper.
Saucy chicken and vegetables are drizzled with a simple but flavorful olive and basil purée for a stunning dish that looks like it came out of a high-end restaurant – your family will never know that it’s actually quite straightforward to make!
A trick to keeping chicken breast juicy and flavorful? Brine it in salt water as we do in this easy recipe. This makes for a complete meal, thanks to a vibrant side of tomatoes and artichokes. For extra dietary fiber, serve with a side of arugula drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.