Hye Thyme Cafe: Zucchini Boule - Fabio's Kitchen Academy Challenge #4

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Zucchini Boule - Fabio's Kitchen Academy Challenge #4

Zucchini yeast bread with pine nuts, parsley, and tomato sauce.

To be quite honest, I was both shocked and amazed that this bread turned out the way that it did! I was afraid it would be a gummy mess from all the moisture involved, but once I got the idea in my head, I just had to run with it. Who else would bake a yeast bread with tomato sauce??

It all started when I read that my all-time favorite Top Chef contestant, Fabio Viviani, promotes periodic recipe challenges via one of his Pinterest boards. I had meant to jump in before now, but missed the first three. He posts a list of "must use" ingredients, then participants decide whatever else they want to incorporate to come up with an entry, which is in turn pinned to the challenge Pinterest board for voting purposes, re-pinning, etc.

In this, Challenge #4, the "must use" ingredients are:

  1. Zucchini
  2. Pine Nuts
  3. Parsley
  4. Tomato Sauce

Of course, the first things that came to mind were some sort of pasta dish, stuffed zucchini, zucchini cakes, etc., but I wanted to do something "different." That's when the bread came to mind.

1/2 c pine nuts
2 T butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 c Greek-style plain yogurt *
1 T sugar
1 T water
2 c shredded zucchini, blotted dry
1 packet yeast
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 t salt
3 1/2 c flour

  1. In a large non-stick pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium heat, immediately removing from the pan to prevent burning; set aside.
  2. Return the pan to the stove, adding the 2T of butter and saute the garlic and onion until they just start to soften.
  3. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, followed by the tomato sauce.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, water, and sugar; set aside.
  5. Stirring frequently, let the tomato mixture simmer to concentrate and reduce the tomato sauce by about half.
  6. Stir the shredded zucchini and toasted pine nuts into the tomato mixture and remove from heat.
  7. Add the yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor with dough blade attached.
  8. Now that the water and yogurt have had a chance to work on dissolving the sugar, pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm the mixture - you do NOT want it to be HOT.
  9. Pour the warm yogurt mixture over the yeast and let stand for about 5" to bloom the yeast.  
  10. While the yeast is blooming, whisk together your Parmesan, salt, and flour.
  11. When the yeast has bloomed and the tomato mixture has cooled somewhat, alternate adding flour/zucchini to your mixer, scraping down the sides between additions.
  12. Once everything has been added, let the mixer/processor run for several minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a nice shiny ball.
  13. Turn the dough out into a greased/sprayed bowl, cover and let rise for 45" to an hour - the oven is always a good place for that, away from any drafts.
  14. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading 5-6 times, then shape into a loaf. I had a pizza stone in the oven that I hand't tried out yet, so I sprinkled that with some cornmeal to prevent sticking and baked the loaf on the stone. Otherwise, I would have either sprayed a cake round/pie plate, or just shaped it on a parchment-lined tray - whatever you are most comfortable with.
  15. Cover and let rest while you preheat your oven to 375.
  16. Bake for +/- 40" and let cool completely before slicing.

* If you don't have access to or want to spend the $ on Greek-style yogurt, any plain yogurt will do. Just strain it first through a piece of cheesecloth, a paper towel, or even a coffee filter, to remove the excess liquid.

Truth be told, this could probably have used another 3" or so in the oven, but I was going by smell and by the color of the exterior. By the way, this does smell awesome while baking. Flavor-wise, it was reminiscent of something with sun-dried tomato and had a nice little kick of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. I love the color, and I'm giving myself a pat on the back for this one working out!  ;)

Thanks to Fabio for the inspiration!!  I love playing around with this type of challenge.

2 c shredded zucchini
Blot excess moisture from shredded zucchini.

Toast pine nuts and immediately remove from heat.
Saute garlic and onion in 2T butter.

Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Add parsley to garlic and onion mixture.

Add 8 oz tomato sauce and simmer to reduce by half.
Reduced tomato mixture.

Fold in shredded zucchini and toasted pine nuts.
Stir together the yogurt, water, and sugar.

After rising for 45".Turn dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise.

Bake at 375 for about 40-45".Punch down the dough, knead 5 or 6 times and form into a loaf.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.

To Follow Fabio on Pinterest
To Follow Hye Thyme Cafe on Pinterest
Fabio's Kitchen Academy Challenge #4 Board on Pinterest

Be sure to stop by and check out all the entries and "Like" your favorite(s) - hopefully including this one!

1st Prize = A call from Fabio, a copy of his new cookbook, and a set of Bialetti Cookware.
2nd/3rd Prize = A call from Fabio and a copy of his new cookbook.

If you want to participate, the challenge is open until March 19, 2013.


  1. Wow, what a great recipe using those ingredients. I bet it smelled wonderful while it was baking. mmmmmmmm

    1. It did, thanks - gotta love aromatherapy. ;)

  2. Wow is right!!! You knocked that challenge out of the park!! Looks fabulous!!

  3. It looks delicious, nice brown crust. My kids would flip if I ever made something this awesome!

    1. That's very sweet, thank you! :) I have mostly been eating it toasted, but I think it would make a fabulous grilled cheese!


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