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Easy Stuffed Zucchini Dinner

August 23rd, 2008 · 65 Comments

zucchini

I eat zucchini as part of almost every meal, especially in the summer. Geoff is getting tired of it. But this stuffed version is a great change from my normal steamed or sautéed dishes. A meatloaf-like filling is piled into the hollowed-out squash and baked until the topping is crispy and the zucchini is tender. I was exhausted when I made this at the end of a long workday, but this quick and easy dish was healthy and satisfying—perfect for a summer weeknight meal. I had to share it with everyone!

Stuffed Zucchini
Adapted from Mario Batali

2 medium to large zucchini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 pound raw Italian sausage, cut out of casing and crumbled
1 large egg
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 jar tomato sauce (tomato basil)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for garnish
Pasta of choice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Trim off the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the flesh, making a canal down the center of each zucchini half, leaving 1/4-inch all around and the ends closed. Roughly chop the excess zucchini flesh and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil until just smoking. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the zucchini pieces and crumbled Italian sausage and cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Place the meat mixture in a large bowl. Add the egg, 1/2 basil and 3/4 cup tomato sauce and mix well. Generously season both the mixture and the zucchini boats with salt and pepper. Stuff the meat mixture into the zucchini boats and pile it high. Place in an oven-proof baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and a little parmesan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp on top, and remove. Serve warm or at room temperature and sprinkle with remaining basil.

While zucchini are baking, start cooking your pasta in boiling salted water. Use the same sauté pan (not washed out!) to heat up the rest of your tomato sauce. As the sauce starts to simmer, scrape the browned bits of meat and vegetables off the bottom of the pan. They’ll make the sauce taste meaty and rich. When the pasta is just short of al dente, drain and add to the sauté pan so it finishes cooking with the sauce. Serve with the zucchini boats.

Tags: dinner · italian · quick fix · recipes

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