You say Sformato I say …

brown handled knife

The beautiful thing about dysphagia is that it makes you experiment with food and sustenance. Dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort in swallowing – to put it mildly) means you have to get creative about how you nourish your body and you are limited by what you can swallow without choking, coughing or aspirating.

Enter Sformato a fairly basic Italian dish that is similar to a souffle with out the anxiety of it loosing its puff! Here’s a simple recipe I have developed for ease of labour and swallow. I am looking forward to experimenting with eggplant and bechamel sauce and possibly making a “ring” sformato with a ragu in the middle.


2 kilos of zucchini  or 3-4 zucchini (small)

1 medium onion or  equivalent with leek or shallots

200 grams whole milk ricotta

3 large eggs

¼ cup of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

3 tablespoons of oil ( enough to film the pan)  

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated nutmeg


Pre heat oven to 200 degrees

Generously butter a 4-5 cup loaf tin or its equivalent in ramekins

Slice the onion (or shallots, leek) and saute in a pan with a film of olive oil or butter

Clean and slice the zucchini (or other vegetable – see note)

When the onions are soft add the zucchini to the pan

Saute stirring frequently for about 20 -30 minutes until they are light golden and just tender

During this time mix the ricotta, eggs, grated cheese, salt & pepper, nutmeg in a bowl whisking until reasonably smooth

When the zucchini mixture is luke warm, combine with the ricotta mixture and roughly puree with an immersion blender of a food processor.

Spoon into prepared moulds ( I use a flatter glass baking dish)

A large mould will take up to 45 minutes to bake but individual ones will take less than 20 minutes 

Check by inserting a knife and if it comes out clean then it’s ready

Unmould when its slightly cool and serve with a sauce and garnish.

Note: the more eggs used the firmer the final dish. Sformato literally means “unmoulded” and it’s a basic dish with an amazing flavour and consistency. 

It’s something that can be made seasonally and vegetables to be used may include asparagus, mushroom, pumpkin or fennel. This Italian vegetable mould is an excellent dish for children and adults, this style of sformato should have a sauce, such as slightly wilted zucchini blossoms in melted butter with herbs, or a fresh tomato sauce.

These keep well, covered, in the fridge I reheat in the microwave covered in fresh tomato sauce.

Published by The Food Manifesto

I am a life explorer, food forager, choice crusader, eco educator, leader, teacher and head and neck cancer survivor. I've loved food all my life, my mum taught me good eating habits and how to cook nutritious food with loads of flavour. As a little girl I lived next door to a wonderful cook Pat Heidrich, I watched as she rolled pastry, filled cupcakes and prepared light as a feather sponges. My love of licking bowls and beaters started early. I grew up and explored my passion by studying cooking, trawling food markets, buying good equipment and experimenting with the tastes and cuisines I love. This blog is intended to share my passion, inspire you to try ...and fail, provide tips and every day good advice about cooking, shopping for ingredients, and planning menus for you, your family and friends. What's your food manifesto? talk to me about how I can help you.

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