Owner of the coffee shop La Petite Tarte (021 425 9077), Cristiana Bosini draws inspiration for her entertaining menus from the years she spent living in Italy, Greece and France
- 12 large zucchini, coarsely grated
- salt and black pepper
- 1T olive oil, plus extra to saute
- 2 cups grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- 250g ricotta cheese
- bunch of basil leaves, chopped
- a little milk (optional)
- 12–14 ready-made, frozen crêpes
- 1T butter, plus extra for greasing
For the cheese sauce:
- 1T butter
- 2T flour (heaped)
- 2 cups warm milk
- dash of nutmeg
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup Parmesan or gruyère cheese
To make the cheese sauce:
1. Cook the butter and flour together for two minutes without colouring. Remove from the heat, beat in the warm milk, add the nutmeg and season with salt. Return to the heat, stirring for one minute.
2. Reduce to simmering point and stir in the cream, one tablespoon at a time. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon fairly heavily.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
To make the crepe mould:
1. Sauté the grated zucchini with a little salt in a large pan with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked. (Most of the liquid must evaporate but it should still be moist.) Set aside to cool.
2. When cooled, mix in one cup of the grated cheese and one tablespoon of olive oil.
3. In a seperate bowl, mix the ricotta with half a cup of the grated cheese and the chopped basil and season to taste. If the mixture is very dry add a little milk to soften it so it spreads easily.
4. Butter a baking dish and centre a crêpe at the bottom. Spread some of the zucchini mixture on top, add the next crêpe and then spread on another layer of the zucchini mixture. Top with the next crêpe and spread it with the ricotta mixture.
5. Continue spreading two layers with the zucchini mixture and every third layer with the ricotta mixture until all the crêpes are used up. Save some ricotta and zucchini mixtures to cover the top.
6. Pour over half the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the last half cup of grated cheese and dot the top with a few pieces of butter. Set aside until you’re ready to bake the dish.
7. About 15–30 minutes before serving time, place on the top shelf of a 180°C oven to heat through and brown the top lightly. Warm up the cheese sauce.
8. Cut the crêpe mould into wedges and serve with the rest of the warmed cheese sauce on the side.
Cook’s tip: Pour a thin layer of milk on top of the cheese sauce to prevent a skin forming.
This recipe serves 6.