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Zucchini Rolls with Homemade Pesto

Who doesn’t like appetizers, small dishes that are usually served before the main course or even an alcoholic beverage called, aperitif, to trigger our digestive juices. Most of the time they are easy to eat as finger foods or just with minimum utensil use. In France they call it hors d’oeuvre, meaning “teaser for the palette”, in Italy – antipasto, zakuski in Russia, entrada in Portuguese, Japan – zensai, starters in the United Kingdom, tapas in Spain and so on.

In the United States hors d’oeuvres are served at parties and are different from an appetizer though the terms became synonymous in the late 20th century. Appetizers are part of the first course of a meal and aren’t necessarily bite-sized finger food. A meal doesn’t necessarily follow hors d’oeuvres. But nearly all cultures from the ancient Greeks and Romans to 17th-19th century French have indulged in wetting their appetites with bite-sized morsels of foods. It seems even the ancient cultures believed that a pre-dinner starter helps prepare the body to digest food by stimulating the appetite.

As for us appetizers often become our main meal. If we eat out, we frequently order a few appetizers and share. That way we get a chance to try different things. With a beautiful stack of green and golden zucchini and freshly made pesto we created these zucchini rolls and homemade pesto appetizers that look as good as they taste. Pesto is a simple sauce of 6 intensely aromatic ingredients, basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino and extra-virgin olive oil. It is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, but we made ours using a mini food processor. The zucchini is sliced lengthwise and baked until golden brown. A thin layer of pesto is spread over the length of the zucchini and then rolled up.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min


1 medium green zucchini
1 medium golden zucchini


2-3 tablespoon pinenuts, or walnuts
2 cups fresh basil, hand packed
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmigiano
3 tablespoons pecorino (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the zucchini thinly, lengthwise and lightly brush both sides with olive oil.
  3. Lay the zucchini slices on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 min or until soft. Let it cool.
  4. Spread a light layer of pesto on each slice, roll it and prop it up.
  5. Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.
  6. Pesto – Add ingredients, except extra-virgin olive oil, in a food processor and pulse well-combined.
  7. Put mixture in a bowl and add the olive oil and hand mix well.

Shakti Chris Nekrasova

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