August 26, 2020
Gretchen’s table: Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Are you tired yet of all that garden-fresh zucchini?
After you’ve marinated it in olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar; shredded it for a vegan crust for pizza; sliced it for salads; pan-fried it with butter; and grated it into breads and muffins, consider making boats with them.
Choose the fattest one of the bunch, slice it in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh and stuff it with sausage, tomatoes and cheese. It’s easy, the kids will love it and it turns something that’s so often the butt of a joke into one people will appreciate.
I used spicy Sicilian sausage from Parma Sausage in the Strip District, but sweet or hot Italian sausage can be used, too. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, it’s perfectly OK to used canned or even stir in a little marinara or jarred tomato sauce. You’ll know the dish is done when you can easily pierce the zucchini with a fork or knife, and the cheese on top turns golden brown.
Stuffed Zucchini Boats
2 large zucchini cut in half, lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pound mild or spicy Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
½ sweet onion, finely minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
Large pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using a spoon, scoop out the interior flesh from the zucchini halves, and set aside. Place the hollowed-out zucchini in baking pan, and drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil to a medium-sized frying pan. When oil is hot, add sausage and cook until it starts to loose its pink color. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add onion, reserved zucchini flesh and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then add oregano, thyme and red pepper. Cook until veggies are tender and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
Spoon ¼ sausage mixture into each zucchini boat. Evenly divide Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses on top, and along with toasted breadcrumbs and parsley.
Bake until zucchini is easily pierced with a fork or knife, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
— Gretchen McKay