There is much excitement over here in eastern Pennsylvania! My first harvest of the season is staring up at me from my little garden basket. Zucchini, tomatoes, peppers….let the cooking begin. Given the size of my zucchini plants, I thought I had better start getting creative with my zucchini recipes as I see lots of zucchini in my future. First up, stuffed zucchini….. I have used this preparation before with eggplant – and it works beautifully with zucchini as well. Feel free to vary the stuffing – add some peppers or perhaps a bit of tomato sauce. I used ground pork for the stuffing but either beef or turkey would also work well. Just remember to let the filling cool before you add in the eggs or you will have scrambled egg stuffing. So open a bottle of chilled white wine, crank up a little music (preferably Italian!), and let the stuffing begin! Happy Summer! Enjoy!
Stuffed Zucchini (Zucchine Ripiene)
2 medium to large zucchini
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground pork, turkey or beef (you choose!)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped (I used Portobello but use your favorite)
1/4 cup white wine
3 diced plum tomatoes
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs
1 large skillet (to hold the stuffing)
1 13X9X2 inch baking dish
1. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the insides of the zucchini. Leave the shells about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to pierce shell. Reserve and dice half of the insides that have been scooped out.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the ground meat and sauté until lightly browned, stirring occasionally – about 8 minutes. Scoop the meat into a bowl.
3. Using the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the chopped mushrooms and reserved zucchini. Sauté until tender – about another 5 minutes. Add the ground meat back into the skillet.
4. Add the wine and diced tomato. Sauté until tomato is soft and heated through. Stir in the pine nuts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (This is important or you will scramble the eggs when you add them in!)
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the mixture has cooled, stir in eggs, Parmigiano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
6. Fill the zucchini halves with the mixture, slightly mounding. Arrange the stuffed zucchini in a 13X9X2 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Pour about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the baking dish. Place in the oven.
7. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the filling is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve!