Tyrannized by my farmbox-- need recipe for stuffed zucchini
OK, we picked up our CSA box this week and it is OOC and not in a good way. We were just recovering from WEEKS OF CABBAGE and now we have a turnip the size of my baby's head and two huge zucchinis. Seriously, the 8-ball zucch is more of a bowling ball. Soooo...I'm contemplating a dish I have never made successfully: stuffed zucchini. Does anyone out there have a good, flavorful, filling recipe? Meat or vegetarian options welcome. Thanks!
I slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the 'guts'. Saute a finely chopped onion, some garlic, a chopped tomato, the scooped out zucchini, and maybe some chopped mushrooms. Mix in some breadcrumbs, salt and pepper,fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan. Put this all back into the zucchini and bake. Tope with some fresh mozzarella if you want. Breadcrumbs are optional, and you can add any other chopped vegetable you want. You could add some Italian sausage or seasoned ground meat also. I have this often during the summer and it is so easy and tasty.
There was a recipe in Deborah Madison's Veg Cooking for Everyone (see COTM thread). I really liked the stuffed zucchini recipe from that.
As I recall, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out centers, chop. Saute this in some oil and/or butter (I actually sauteed some onion in the butter first, then added the zucchini pulp). Mix with some crumbled feta and grated gruyere, herbs (I think it was marjoram but you could use anything you want), salt/pepper to taste, and an egg. Mix well, fill the zucchini halves, put in the oven. The recipe says broil, but another poster and I both found that they blacken very quickly. I think you want to cook at high heat (say 375 or 400) for long enough that the shells cook through--maybe 30-40 min or so. And then if you want to broil to get the tops brown, feel free.
Generally, it's a recipe you can easily play around with. Substitute cheeses and herbs, don't worry too much about the baking details. It's not meat, so if it's slightly under or overdone, there isn't much to worry about.
I get some italian sausage, remove the casings, mix with breadcrumbs, grated parmesan, and one egg to hold it together. Maybe some italian seasoning, or oregano, or basil. I slice the big zuke in half, boil for maybe 10 minutes so it is soft enough that I can scoop out the center leaving a nice thick shell. Depending on what the center looks like I include some of it with the sausage (if it is all big seeds I skip that). I fill the zuke with the stuffing mixture (the sausage isn't cooked at this point) and put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. you can top with some grated cheese near the end of cookin if you like. Really simple and always pretty popular, even with the kids. It also freezes reasonably well (the zuke gets a little mushy, but it's not too bad).
Here is a Cal-Mex recipe I modified from an old Sunset recipe many years ago to deal specifically with large zucchini. I guess you could also use it for smaller ones, but I usually do something simpler with small ones, like saute them. BTW, if I can't pierce it with my thumbnail, I feed it to the cows (well, I used to when we had cows, now I just compost them). Once they are tougher than that, I have found no preparation that makes it worthwhile to cook them for human consumption. I try really hard to pick them before they are bigger than 6 inches, so hopefully, I only resort to stuffing them once a summer!
1 large (2 to 2.5 lb., 13 to 14 in. long) zucchini, tender enough to pierce with thumbnail
1/2 pound ground lean beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped
1 T chile powder
1 t ground cumin
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
8 oz. frozen corn
1 can (8 oz) Mexican style stewed tomatoes (like Rotel)
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 c. shredded jack cheese
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard soft, seedy center. Scoop out enough flesh to make a 1/2 in. thich zucchini shell. Coarsely chop flesh and reserve. Place squash, cut side up, in a 10 X 15 inch baking pan. Meahwhile, in a 12 inch frying pan, brown meat over high heat. Discard any fat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, saute until tender. Add chile powder, cumin, chiles, corn, tomatoes, and reserved chopped zucchini. Boil on high heate, uncovered, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Mix in cilantro, bread, and half the cheese. Spoon all filling equally into zucchini shells in pan. Bake at 350° F until zucchini is soft when pierced and filling is hot, about 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake until cheese browns lightly, about 10 to 15 more minutes.