This is a great dish for a family dinner on a busy weeknight, because, if necessary, you can keep it warm in a covered skillet.
2 c. broccoli florets
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
½ c. frozen peas (preferably baby peas), thawed
1 c. ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. butter
¼ c. toasted slivered almonds
¼ c. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. cooked rice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. pepper, or to taste
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Dash of paprika
Put the broccoli, carrot, zucchini, and peas into a large microwave-proof dish; add about ¼ cup water. Cover and microwave on high for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. (Or cook the vegetables in a stovetop steamer.)
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
Melt the butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are lightly browned and the onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and soy sauce. Use the back of a large spoon to smooth out the top of the mixture. Drop on spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture. Cover and reduce the heat to medium.
When the vegetables are done, drain well. Transfer them to a large bowl; stir in the tomato sauce, parsley, oregano, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spread over the ricotta layer in the skillet. Top with the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and heat until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
YIELD: 6 servings