Monday, July 25, 2011

QT's Home-Grown Eye-Talian Stuffed Zucchini!

Okay, I found a humane way to dispatch one of my 4#+ zucchinis tonight...

Once again, I consulted the Great Oracle Google and read a boatload of different recipes. Then I smushed several of them together and made it "mine!"

Here's the recipe (such as it is), and accompanying photos...

  • 1 Monster Zucchini (appx 4#). Although, the recipe would probably work *much* better with an equivalent quantity of "normal-sized" zucchinis
  • 1/4 of a large chopped onion (I used red onion)
  • 2 cloves of fresh, minced garlic
  • 1 lb lean ground sirloin
  • 1 lb sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Fistful of shredded mozzarella (probably appx 1 cup)
  • Sprinkling of fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar of GOOD spaghetti sauce (Best if you had some of your own preserved sauce!)
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh pesto (I bought mine from the refrigerated italian section of the grocery-store. Home-made pesto would be *even* better!)
  • Couple of fistfuls of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, marjoram, garlic chives). You could probably go w/dried italian herbs, but I wanted this to be a "Garden" dinner!
Slice the Zucchini in half (I ended up having to quarter mine). Scoop out the center seedy area so you've got Zucchini Boats. Put the zucchini boats on an olive-oil-spritzed, foil-covered baking sheet. Daub the 4 TBS Pesto on the exposed innards of the zucchini boats.

Brown the meat in a skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil, if needed. Saute the chopped onions and garlic along with the meat (if I'd had fresh mushrooms, I probably would have included them!). Once the meat is browned and the garlic and onions are soft and mushy, turn off the heat. Add freshly chopped herbs at this point, and stir it around... Take a taste and add ground sea-salt and pepper, if needed...

Allow the meat to cool, somewhat. Scoop in appx 1 cup of ricotta cheese and mix it in while the meat is still warm. Then sprinkle in 1/4 cup of bread-crumbs (this will allow it to stick-together pretty well).

Once the meat/cheese/breadcrumb mix is cool, start scooping it into the zucchini boats. Neatness doesn't count here!!!

Add a generous sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the meat mixture.

Glop on some spaghetti sauce (mine was Artichoke Pesto Spag Sauce).

Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top of that.

Toss the whole thing in a pre-heated 350* oven for appx 30-45 minutes, til the zucchini is fork-tender (smaller zooks would take less time, I'm sure!). I actually used my microwave/convection oven and it took 45 mins on "Convection" - then another 7 mins on "Nuker-High" to get the zucchinis to tenderize.

Anyway, it was splendiferously delicious!

I wish I had the patience to drag our my "good" camera to take more appetizing photos (but Droid is sooooo much easier!!!). Anyway... Here it is!

One of my Monster Zucchinis

Fresh herbs from my garden...

Pesto-slathered Zucchini Boats

Browning the Sirloin and Italian Sausage w/onions and garlic.

Stuffing the Zucchini Boats with Meat (No, it ain't very appetizing, is it?!)

Cheese makes EVERYTHING better!

Topped with Pasta Sauce and parmesan cheese

After cooking.

Now, had we not gobbled this up so quickly, I might've been able to take a "prettier" photo (rather than showing the zucch's congealing in their own grease!!!)

Anyway - Trust me! It was delicious!!!

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