I love sharing this recipe because it was adapted from one my mother cooked when I was a kid. This recipe was recently featured in a local newspaper, The Daily Herald. There’s even a demo video to help you make it at home. Check it out!!
The recipe here uses zucchini from a grocer’s produce section. If you find an extra large zucchini at a farmer’s market or farm stand, use this recipe to fill one extra large zucchini but I recommend discarding any large seeds you find before using the pulp for the filling.
Stuffed Zucchini Baked Italian Style with Ground Beef and Fresh Herbs (serves 6)
3 or 4 large zucchini squash or 1 extra large home-grown zucchini
2 slices roasted tomatoes*, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut zucchini lengthwise and place in microwave-safe dish. Add water to 1 inch deep, cover. Microwave on high until zucchini is tender, 4-6 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown ground beef in large pan. Drain.
When zucchini is done, carve out soft flesh, chop and add to ground beef. Place hollow zucchini shells onto baking sheet.
To the beef/zucchini mixture, add roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs, parmesan, tomato sauce, herbs. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide evenly and fill zucchini shells with mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
*to roast tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice raw tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds (use your thumb or a teaspoon to dig out the seeds). Place halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Grind salt and pepper over them, as well. Add some dried herbs (like oregano, thyme, basil, and/or parsley) and minced garlic. Toss to coat. Turn halves cut side up and roast in center of oven for 25-35 minutes. Fire roasted canned tomatoes can be used as a substitute (about 1 cup).