It's zucchini season again! Zucchini are sometimes dismissed as 'bland' but in fact their mild flavor can be put to good use. They make an ideal foil for all sorts of flavors, whether simmered in tomato sauce and marinated with herbs and vinegar or baked alla parmigiana. They also make fine vehicle for a savory stuffing.
Unlike, say artichokes, pepper or tomatoes, zucchini don't have a natural cavity to hold the stuffing. You need to cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and carve out a hollow in each of the two halves so they look like little 'canoes'. It's smooth sailing from there. You can use the bread stuffing from last week's post on stuffed artichokes, or the tuna-based stuffing we used to stuff peppers last year. But for something more substantial, try a stuffing of ground meats and flavorings, a mixture very much like the one you might use for meatballs or an Italian meatloaf. Then pop it in the oven (with our without tomato sauce) and let it all cook until golden brown.
Ingredients (for 4-6 as an antipasto or light secondo)
- 4 large zucchini
For the filling:
- 1 small onion
- Olive oil
- 500g (1 lb) ground beef (or mixed meats, see Notes)
- 100g (4 oz) grated parmesan cheese
- 100g (4 oz) bread crumbs (or crumbled, crustless bread, soaked in milk and squeezed dry)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Water or white wine
- 1 Tbs. tomato paste or purée (optional)
- Olive oil