- 2 small yellow or green zucchini – choose straight zucchini about 6-in long
- ½ white or yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 good quality Italian sausages, sweet or hot (your choice as most of the spices for this dish will come from the sausage meat)
- 1 cup good quality tomato sauce, diced tomatoes or whole stewed tomatoes crushed with your hands
- 1 cup cooked rice (I like long grain rice with this recipe)
- Parmesan cheese for topping
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
Prepare the filling:
- Chop the onion into a medium-dice and finely chop the garlic. Set aside. Slice each zucchini lengthwise. Using a teaspoon or melon baller, carefully hull out the inside flesh from each half taking care to not pierce the outer skin. Place the contents on a cutting board and rough chop. Set aside. Place each cleaned zucchini half into a baking dish large enough to hold all the zucchini halves.
- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped zucchini flesh and continue to sauté until soft (another 5 minutes).
- Remove the sausage meat from the casing by slitting it open with a knife. Crumble the meat into the pan. Stir into the onion/garlic/zucchini mixture and continue to break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains in the sausage.
- Add the tomatoes and stir into the mixture breaking up the tomatoes if needed. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken (you don’t want it too soupy).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked rice until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture cool.
Finish the zucchini:
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- Holding each prepared zucchini half over the cooled mixture, fill the zucchini using your hands or a spoon. Don’t pack it on but create a nice mound of the stuffing in each zucchini. Return the now filled zucchini to the baking dish. Use any remaining filling in eggs for breakfast.
- Generously sprinkle each zucchini with grated Parmesan cheese. Add 2 tbsp of water to the baking dish to create steam while it cooks.
- Cover the baking dish with foil (if the foil will touch the tops of the filled zucchini, lightly coat the underside of the foil with oil or cooking spray).
- Bake the prepared dish for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to crisp up the tops.
- Carefully remove each zucchini to a serving plate and drizzle and accumulated cooking liquid over each zucchini. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Equipment needed: Melon baller (optional), oven-proof baking dish.