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Give your zucchini some zip

An assortment of recipes from the Scotto’s of New York's Fresco restaurant.
/ Source: TODAY

On “Today’s Kitchen,” it’s all about a long green squash called zucchini. And the Scottos — from the Manhattan restaurant ‘Fresco’ — have an assortment of terrific zucchini recipes. Check them out here:



1 pound large baking potatoes

1/2 pound large zucchini

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 quarts peanut oil for frying

1 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbled

Kosher salt to taste


Peel potatoes and cut into very thin slices. Immediately put into a bowl of cold water.

Cut zucchini into thin slices and place in a large bowl and toss with flour. In heavy sauté pan, heat oil to 325 degrees. Drain potatoes and dry on paper towels. Deep fry chips for about 2-3 minutes, drain, season with salt and let cool. Deep fry zucchini drain, season with salt and let cool. In a pan, place potato, zucchini chips and gorgonzola and place in oven at 350 until cheese melts. Serve immediately.


(Serves 6)


Cheese mixture

2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese

2 pounds fresh mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Eggplant and zucchini pie

2 eggplants, peeled

4 zucchini

4 cups all-purpose flour

10 eggs

4 cups breadcrumbs (store bought)

1½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

» cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

2 quarts extra-virgin olive oil

5 cups tomato sauce


In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, and eggs. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate briefly to make the mixture firm.

Slice the eggplants and zucchini into » inch thick slices. Set the zucchini aside. Fill a bowl with lightly salted water, add the eggplant, and soak for 1½ to 2 hours to remove the bitter taste.

In one shallow bowl, place the flour. In a second bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until blended. In a third bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Line up the bowls on a work surface.

One at a time, carefully dip the eggplant and zucchini slices first into the flour, making sure both sides are covered; then into the egg mixture; and finally into the breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides very well, and gently tap off any excess coating. Transfer to a large plate and season with salt and pepper.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the zucchini and eggplant and sauté on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes, making sure that they are cooked all the way through and soft. Try not to crowd the pan and fry eggplant first. Place the cooked eggplant and zucchini on paper towels to drain off the excess oil.

Preheat the oven to 450. In a large 9 X 13 baking pan, add 1 cup tomato sauce, a layer » eggplant and zucchini, and top with a layer of » cheese mixture Repeat the process three more times. Top with a layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately?


(serves 6)

Ripening zucchini, during the months of mid-July to late summer and early fall, yields a beautiful yellow flower or blossom which can be cut and eaten. They are the ultimate seasonal treat. Most specialty grocery stores and farmers markets should have some on hand. In this recipe, we stuff them, but they also can be coated in a light tempura-style batter and deep fried in olive oil with a squeeze of fresh lemon.


Zucchini flowers

(3 each) 18 total or approximately 1 pound

Cheese filling

2 cups fresh Ricotta cheese

4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

1 pound fresh Mozzarella cut into small dice

1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato sauce

3 cups prepared tomato sauce


Mix all ingredients of the cheese filling together, thoroughly season with salt and pepper and place in a pastry bag without a tip. If not a pastry bag, you can use a small teaspoon to fill the zucchini flowers.

Taking flower by the stem, gently open flower, insert pastry bag and gently squeeze cheese filling into flower. Be careful not to overfill flower; leave enough of flower at the end to fold under whole flower. Repeat process until all are filled.

Choose a casserole or baking pan which will hold blossoms snugly. Spread a thin amount of tomato sauce on bottom of casserole and place flowers on top.

Preheat broiler on oven 10 minutes prior to serving.

Lightly drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top of blossoms, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and broil until lightly golden brown, approximately 5-7 minutes, and serve immediately.


(serves 6)


2-3 pounds small to medium size zucchini cut into medium dice

1 1/2 cups small dice sweet onion

4 cloves garlic sliced paper thin

Grated zest of 1 fresh lemon, skin only, no white parts

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound pasta

2 ounces or 8 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste


Pour approximately 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan, place over low heat, season with salt and pepper and sauté bread crumbs until lightly golden, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer bread crumbs with a strainer-skimmer to a dish and set aside.

Cut off and discard the ends of zucchini and cut into medium size dice. Peel onions and cut into small dice. In two separate pans, starting over medium heat, heat onion and cook gently until dark golden brown; towards end of cooking, add fresh grated lemon zest and sit until zucchini is done.

In another pan with remainder of olive oil, approximately 1/4 cup, heat medium size sauté pan to high heat and add zucchini dice and cook until golden on all sides; at end add sliced garlic, cook gently and remove from heat.

Bring pasta water seasoned with salt to a boil, add pasta and cook 6-8 minutes, depending on brand. Using a strainer-skimmer, remove zucchini and onions to a covered dish, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Drain pasta, toss pasta in bowl and mix thoroughly with zucchini and onions. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and serve immediately.


(serves 6)


6 each (6-7 ounces) salmon filets, skinned and boned

5 medium size zucchini

12 pieces of whole fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2-3 ounces grated parmesan

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450. Slice the zucchini lengthwise on only one side so the zucchini sits flat on cutting board. With each zucchini, take a sharp slicing knife and cut 1/8-inch wide bands on zucchini until you have enough band to form a 5x5inch overlapping square of zucchini; do this for each salmon filet.

Inside each zucchini square, place two basil leaves, sprinkle fresh parsley and approximately 1/2 teaspoon grated parmesan; spread evenly over zucchini.

Place on top of each square of zucchini, 1 filet of salmon in the center of each squre, then fold zucchini bands crosswise over filet so that they overlap evenly.

In a large baking casserole or non-stick baking pan, drizzle approximately 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Place zucchini wrapped filets over lapping side down in pan. Space at least 1 inch between one another. Brush extra virgin olive oil on top of zucchini square, season with salt and pepper and bake at 450 for approximately 20 minutes. Serve salmon immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh wedge of lemon.



1 cup vegetable oil

2 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla (use pure vanilla extract)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups grated zucchini (leave skins on)

1 cup walnuts


Mix oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add sifted dry ingredients to first mixture; alternating with grated zucchini. Fold in chopped nuts. (Batter will be a bit thin.) Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.



1/2 cup melted butter

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound box confectioners sugar


Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla, mixing well. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add oil, eggs, lemon juice and peel, shredded zucchini, and chopped walnuts. Stir to blend. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool zucchini bread in pan on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn zucchini bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.



3 eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped almonds

2 cups grated zucchini


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans well. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and soda. In a large bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored; beat in sugar and oil. Stir in vanilla, zucchini, and cooled chocolate. Mix dry ingredients into zucchini mixture. Stir in the chopped almonds. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 to 20 minutes, then flip onto racks to finish cooling.

Makes 24 servings



3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3 teaspoons maple flavored extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts


In a mixing bowl, beat the 3 eggs; add oil, sugars and flavoring, mixing until foamy. Blend in the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour batter into 2 greased bread pans

Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour. Cool.