A light and healthy dish is ideal on a hot summer’s day. And these little stuffed courgettes filled with ricotta cheese, tuna and olives really fit the bill. They are also truly delicious: try one! Easy to prepare and also great for all occasions.

Much like that versatile little black dress which suits any situation, courgettes filled with Ricotta cheese can be served warm as finger food while waiting to tuck into a summer barbeque, as a more formal starter, freshly baked as a main course or by slightly increasing the amounts and serving some bruschetta alongside them – as a one course- meal.

Stuffed courgettes without meat, have been one of my mother’s flagship recipes ever since I was a small child, a clever way to make me eat my vegetables without making a fuss. Not even children who throw tantrums at having to eat vegetables at mealtimes, can say no to these.

Childhood memories aside, these little stuffed courgettes really do deserve some attention: they taste like how I would imagine a summer sunset to be.

Depending on the season – I am a bit late for this – stuffed courgettes are even more eye-catching if you prepare them using the round variety. The preparation and the taste will be the same, but with an extra touch of glam!

Courgettes filled with Ricotta cheese and tuna really are the perfect dish for a healthy and tasty dinner, with a bold yet gentle flavour, a classic recipe that satisfies our taste-buds without too many guilty feelings.

Ricotta-filled courgettes with tuna and olives: the recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 )

  • 600 g of white courgettes
  • 250 g of mixed ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 160 g of tuna in oil
  • 30 g of Taggiasca olives
  • 30 g of stoned green olives
  • a handful of almonds
  • Grated Grana Padana cheese as required
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt, fresh parsley and black pepper to season

METHOD

  1. Wash the courgettes, cut them in half lengthways and steam for 10 minutes.
  2. Once softened, remove the insides with a scoop (or a teaspoon if you don’t have one).
  3. Now prepare the filling. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, add the Ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix with a whisk until you get a smooth creamy texture with no lumps. Then add the tuna.
  4. Using a spoon, stuff the courgettes and place them carefully on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Top with a few Taggiasca olives, some green round olives and a sprinkling of grated Grana cheese. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and your ricotta-filled courgettes are ready to be baked at 180 ° C for 20 minutes. As soon as they turn a beautiful golden colour on top, you know they will be cooked to perfection and are ready to be removed them from the oven.
  6. All that’s left is to serve your Ricotta-filled courgettes with some finely chopped almonds and freshly chopped parsley. Bon appetit!

Have you got some of the filling left over from your courgettes?

Not to worry, you can mix it together with the pulp from the courgettes to create a tasty quiche. By following the golden rule “nothing gets thrown away in the kitchen” do this: finely chop the pulp of the courgettes which you put aside at the beginning and add it to the leftover filling, then throw in some olives. Butter some ovenproof cups and create a small layer of breadcrumbs, spoon in the mixture, sprinkle with a handful of grated Grana cheese and a drizzle of oil, then bake in the oven at 180 ° C for 15 minutes. You’ll have created some delicious ricotta tarts with courgettes and tuna, a great way to use up leftovers and just as good as any starter!

Food styling: Kristel Cescotto.
Photography: Sara Cartelli.