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Stuffed Zucchini

Posted Oct 02 2008 4:23pm

I had almost forgotten about this dish from my childhood in Pennsylvania, but when I was visiting family yesterday, some members of their church brought them a hot meal and stuffed zucchini was the star.

I you have ever grown zucchini, you know how prolific the plants are. After you have used every recipe for zucchini that you have ever known, it still keeps coming on and seems to grow from 3 inches to a foot long over night. I imagine this recipe for stuffed zucchini was created by thrifty cooks back in the 1960s as a way to use the squash once it reaches those large proportions and has tough skin and large seeds.

Here are two "recipes" that aren't really recipes, but are more "methods" because quantities of ingredients depend on the size of the squash and what you have on hand to use for the stuffing. Of course, you can use smaller zucchini for individual servings which then become elegant enough for a luncheon or dinner party.

Stuffed Zucchini

( Ragu )
One large zucchini
Lean ground beef
Chopped onion
Minced garlic
Cooked rice
Spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Halve zucchini lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and place, cut side down, on baking sheet. Roast in 350 degree oven until just tender. Remove from oven. Scoop out large seeds and discard. Remove flesh, leaving 1/4 inch on skin, and place zucchini pulp in bowl. (If using smaller zucchini, there is no need to discard seeds.)
Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic; drain. Place in bowl with zucchini pulp and add rice and spaghetti sauce to bind. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Fill zucchini "boats" with beef mixture, top with cheese and roast in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. To serve, spoon beef stuffing onto plates. If using smaller, tender squash, serve the squash "boats" on individual plates.

Stuffed Zucchini

One large zucchini
Stove Top Stuffing Mix (your choice of variety), prepared according to directions
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Halve zucchini lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and place, cut side down, on baking sheet. Roast in 350 degree oven until just tender. Remove from oven. Scoop out large seeds and discard. Remove flesh, leaving 1/4 inch on skin, and place zucchini pulp in bowl. (If using smaller zucchini, there is no need to discard seeds.)
Combine prepared stuffing mix and zucchini pulp; fill zucchini "boats" and top with cheddar cheese. Roast in 350 degree oven until heated through and cheese is melted. To serve, scoop filling out of zucchini skins. If using smaller, tender squash, serve the squash "boats" on individual plates.

Bon Appétit!
Chef Debbie


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