Using vegetables in the place of pasta makes this dish light and gluten-free. I slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices and then grill them just until they are pliable.
YIELD: 4–6 SERVINGS
4 medium zucchini, washed and cut lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch slices
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Prepare a grill. If using a charcoal grill, fill one chimney and light it. When all the charcoal is burning and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the entire surface of the coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. If using a gas grill, set to medium heat. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Brush zucchini all over with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook until browned, 5–7 minutes. Flip zucchini. Cover grill and continue cooking until zucchini is softened, 4–5 minutes more, or until tender enough to roll. Set aside.
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 1⁄2 pounds),
chopped into florets
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss garlic in olive oil, then roast in aluminum foil for 18–20 minutes, until soft.
Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water, and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, and add the cauliflower florets to the steamer. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, allowing the cauliflower to steam 6–8 minutes, or until fork tender. Transfer the steamed cauliflower to the bowl of a large food processor. Add the roasted garlic, herbs, and seasonings, and process to desired texture.
12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1⁄2 tablespoons Alessi Balsamic Vinegar
(or other quality balsamic vinegar)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Arrange cut tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast 25–30 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to caramelize. Remove and cool for later use.
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄2 cup pine nuts
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated 1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated.
1 bunch broccolini
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Separate broccolini into spears. Carefully add broccolini to the boiling water and cook 1–1 1⁄2 minutes, only until slightly cooked through and tender. To test, remove a piece with a slotted spoon, dip it into the ice bath to cool quickly, then eat it. If the test is good, scoop out the broccolini and immediately move to the ice bath. Keep the vegetables in the ice bath just until they’ve cooled, 20–30 seconds. Remove, drain in a colander, and set aside until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lay two zucchini slices on your work surface, shingling to cover edge. Spread cauliflower puree on zucchini, and place two pieces of tomato at the edge closest to you. Place a piece of broccolini in between and roll. Place on sheet pan. Heat in oven 20 minutes or until hot. Remove rolls to individual plates, pooling a tablespoon of pesto next to them, and serve.
Everything can be prepared a day or two ahead without affecting quality; this allows you to put the meal together quickly. It will take 20–25 minutes to heat.
To make this a vegan dish, remove the cheese from the pesto.
You can also use yellow squash or eggplant for this dish. When in season (late May until late August) substitute asparagus for the broccolini.
This dish works for every day and every occasion all year.