Zucchini, Parmigiano and Mint Sformato Flan

Hello my friends, how are you? is it already spring where you live? my rosemaries are clouds of purple at the moment!

beautiful rosemary bushes in the terrace of Alla Madonna del Piatto Agriturismo in Assisi Italy

Once again I am back from a wonderful, two weeks visit to the USA. I can’t believe that a few days ago ago I was gazing at Rhode Island and Cape Cod’s blue waters and enjoying a marvelous seafood risotto in Boston North End. So much has happened in such a short time.

Besides meeting and cooking with old and new friends, I was honored to collaborate with several amazing chefs to create Umbrian dinners all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We had full house and a fabulous atmosphere at all my events!

I started my trip with 2 very exciting cookbook dinners in Providence which were hosted by the Vice Consul of Italy in RI and Sprezzatura Travel. At both events, one held at Matunuck Oyster Bar and one at Providence’s Art Club, I presented about food and cooking as a way to share heritage, tradition and culture.

We also had  a book signing at beautiful Belmont Market with a tasting of chickpea salad, focaccia and ciambelline cookies from my recipes. Among the stream of people who visited us, I was delighted to see my dear friends Sao and Rick who drove all the way from Virginia to come to see me. I could not stop myself crying in the market because of such a gesture of love!

A kitchen with a view book tour 2019 events at Providence
Thank you Perry, Jeff and staff at Matunuck Oyster bar, Seb and Drew at Providence Art Club, Ginger and staff at Belmont Market and my superstars Deborah Salvatore and Deborah Del Sesto at Sprezzatura Italy for making all this magic for me! (Photos courtesy of Jocelyn Welch-McCarthy. Donna thank you for converting all those batches of dough!)

After the high life in Providence, I moved to off-season Cape Cod and in the arms of my friend – and Assisi’s honorary citizen – Lynn Guardino. For a moment it almost felt like a holiday, but you should never underestimate a tourist town in the winter! Thanks to Lynn’s flamboyant energy no one was allowed to stay home. I was welcome by several enthusiastic groups of food and Italy loving people at 3 different locations including the adorable Margot and family at Firestarters, Dennis most popular pizza restaurant for another delicious Umbrian dinner.

A collection of images from A Kitchen with a View Tour in USA 2019
Special thanks to all of you who created, helped and joined the events in Dennis, baked cakes from my recipes, traveled from far (Norma Jean!) and close to see me and share so much wonderful food, wine, coffee and an unparalleled enthusiasm for Italy and its culture. Additional thanks to Colleen at Cape Cod Foodie Tours for handing a fabulous sharp knife in a moment of need! Joe, Gail, Deborah, I wish I could mention you all, but you are all in my heart!

My last two stops were not less glorious. I spent a couple of days at Cooking with Abby in Norwell with my partner in crime Abby and her sweet family. Abby has been bringing her tours guests to our cooking classes for a couple of years and now I know why everybody loves her. Her space is breathtaking and her food is superb!

My visit ended in Boston with one last cookbook dinner and presentation Caffe Zia Gianna with Nino and a super fun cooking session at my long time friend and Italy’s addict Colleen. Thank you Mindy, Beth and Holly for joining a class every time we meet!

I met Nino 2 years ago during my first trip to Boston and I was so happy to see him in its cozy brand new cafè. Nino and I should be neighbors, we would have a grand time cooking together and sharing recipes and stories.

A collection of images from A Kitchen with a View Cookbook tour in Norwell and Boston 2019
I feel so fortunate at having so many wonderful friends around the world and for having had the privilege to meet you during these two magical weeks. I hope to see you all in my kitchen sometime soon!

a delicious zucchini flan filled with ricotta and parmigiano

And now finally, this month recipe, a zucchini “sformato” which I am sure you have encountered in many restaurants in Italy and may be wondered how to reproduce.

A sformato is a typical Italian savory flan, something in between a French souffle and a frittata. It has all the same creamy texture of the souffle, without the complication of whipping egg whites and be worried about collapsing tops. A sformato is also easy to make gluten-free, just use corn starch instead of flour in the mixture. Sformato is often made with béchamel, but I prefer good quality ricotta which makes it even easier and faster to prepare.

You can pour the vegetable mixture in a bread mold but I prefer to serve it as a pretty appetizer in individual ramekins. It’s also a great light lunch with a side of crusty bread or a mildly flavored salad.


  • 450 g zucchini, washed ( about 1 lb or four 8 inch long zucchini)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon mint (or basil)
  • 120 g (4 oz) fresh ricotta
  • 4 tablespoon  grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a sprinkle black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Reserve the smallest of the 4 zucchini. Dice or slice the other 3 zucchini and sautè over medium heat until just starting to become golden, then add one clove of very finely minced garlic and the mint or basil, stir briefly and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer into a food processor, add the cheese, egg, cornstarch, milk and blend to achieve a smooth pudding-like consistency.

Using a mandolin or potato peeler slice the reserved zucchini into long, paper-thin strips. Oil six 3/4 cup (140-150 ml) ramekins. Brush slices with olive oil on both sides and use them to line the ramekins. Pour the mixture into the molds and fold over the zucchini slices, topping with 1/2 teaspoon butter.

At this point you can bake the sformato in preheated oven at 180 °C (350 °F) for 15 to 20 min, until set. You can also cover with parchment paper or microwave plastic wrap and cook them in the microwave at 500 W for 7 min.

Allow the sformato to cool, then un-mold and serve.

Serves 6.

Italian style zucchini flans made with ricotta, mint and eggs and served with a small tomato salad



  1. This sounds delicious! I think I will give it a go next week or the next time I can get to the store to pick up zucchini and ricotta.

    • Thanks Heather. Please let me know if you cook it in the microwave or in the oven. Results always vary with baking but if it’s too soft you can always put it back and continue to cook. Enjoy!

  2. We’re sorry that we missed you while you were on Cape Cod, but we had a lovely trip to London, Edinburgh, and Iona. (Once in a great while, we do travel somewhere other than Italy.) We were pleasantly surprised by the weather and never expected to be wearing sunglasses in the UK in March and April. We were also surprised to find so many flowers and trees blooming; spring arrived much earlier in the UK than here on the Cape. Now we’re back on rainy Cape Cod and planning for our next Italy trip to sunny Calabria this fall. All the best to you and your family for a joyous Easter.

    • ciao Lisa indeed it was a pity to miss each other but it’s good to know you enjoyed the UK. We were both lucky with the weather as I had magnificent sunny days on Cape Cod. Hopefully the sun will return soon for you!

  3. Sorry to miss you while you were in Massachusetts, only an hour or so from my home, but I was in Belgium at that time (or maybe Hungary where I learned a very Hungarian way to cook outdoors). I think I will never cook on an American barbeque in the usual way again! All is not lost for me because I am looking forward to staying with you in a few weeks when I arrive to join you and Diana Baur for Fire and Food. Your recipes whet my appetite for new food adventures! Non vedo l’ora!

    • Dear Donna, I am sorry indeed we missed each other, but am very much looking forward to meet you here for the Tour with Diana! Thank you so much for joining us!

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