Perfect For Pesach

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Growing up in Australia, Naomi Nachman was mesmerized by her mother and grandmother as they prepared spectacular feasts for the family.

Her family was also very Pesach-centric — her parents ran a Pesach hotel program out of Sydney for almost 30 years. So when Nachman married, moved to Manhattan and began cooking for her own family, she realized that she, too, had a knack — and a passion — for cooking. She launched her own highly successful kosher personal chef business, the Aussie Gourmet.

Now, after speaking and giving cooking demonstrations around the world, making TV appearances, writing for magazines — and her own website, theaussiegourmet.com — Nachman has written her first book, just in time for the biggest Jewish foodie holiday: Perfect for Pesach (Artscroll; $29.99).

Cauliflower Sushi, Charoset Salad, Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops, Mock Sesame Noodles and Frozen Red Wine Strawberry Mousse are just a few of the more than 125 mouthwatering, modern and easy recipes for both Passover and every day found in this gorgeously photographed (by Miriam Pascal) compendium.

Tips on cooking, preparing ahead, substituting non-Passover ingredients for year-round (like adding sunflower seeds to the Quinoa Granola Parfait for extra flavor and texture or different flavored chips to the Almond Butter Banana Pancakes) are punctuated throughout. And there’s no shortage of the tried-and-true favorites: Meat and Cabbage Soup, Ultimate Pesach Cholent, Sweet and Savory Brisket, Pesach Egg Noodles and more.

On these pages, enjoy a preview of recipes excerpted from Perfect for Pesach. Chag Pesach kasher v’sameach!

ZUCCHINI RAVIOLI WITH SPINACH RICOTTA FILLING
This recipe went viral on Kitchen-Tested.com, my friend Melinda Strauss’ blog. She used zucchini strips in place of pasta for the ravioli wrappers to keep this dish low-carb.

4 medium zucchini
1½ cups jarred or homemade marinara sauce

Filling:
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
¼ cup chopped fresh spinach
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
13 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare 2 (9 x 13-inch) baking pans.

Using a potato peeler, slice the two sides of each zucchini into thin flat strips, peeling until you reach the center. You will end up with 50-60 slices. Discard the outside layers that are mainly peel rather than inside flesh.

Spread a layer of marinara sauce into prepared pans.

Prepare the filling: In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, spinach, basil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Form the ravioli: Place two strips of zucchini side by side, slightly overlapping. Then cross two more strips perpendicularly over the first strips, creating a plus sign shape. Spoon 1 Tbsp. filling into the center of the plus sign; bring the ends of the strips together, overlapping to create the ravioli (see photo). Place upside-down into the baking dish to seal. Repeat with remaining zucchini and filling.

Sprinkle ravioli with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the zucchini is al dente and the cheese on top is turning golden brown. Serve with additional marinara sauce, Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired. Dairy — yields 14-16 ravioli.

VANILLA CUPCAKES
This quick and easy five-ingredient cupcake recipe is simple but really cute. It’s perfect to have on hand when the kids want to snack.

4 eggs
1¼ cups sugar
½ cup oil
1 (3.5-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup potato starch

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. oil
2-3 tsp. water
Sprinkles, optional, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 1 (8-12 cup) cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs with sugar until combined. Add remaining ingredients; beat to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pans, filling them about ¾ full.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until tops are set.

Cool completely before topping with Vanilla Glaze (optional).

To make the Vanilla Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together sugar, oil and 2 tsp. water to form a glaze. If needed, add an additional tsp. of water to reach your desired consistency.

Drizzle over cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles, if desired. Pareve — yields 8-12 cupcakes. Freezer-friendly.

Lynne Konstantin Arts & Life Editor

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