by Ned Raggett
So, in the continuing saga of “what the heck to do with all that zucchini”, I decided to try and find a good recipe online for stuffed baked zucchini. The problem is that there was no one recipe that really looked like what I wanted, so I ended up using some of the directions from this one and another bit from this one and then making the rest up on my own. The result was really good–I mean, lip-smacking good, and I don’t get all that excited about my own cooking. Even my two young daughters loved it, so it’s kid-tested and approved.
Baked Stuffed Zucchini
3 pounds of zucchini
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of herbs de provence
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan, halved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
Lay the zucchini down on a flat work surface and, using a sharp knife, cut the top 1/4 of each squash off lengthwise. Using a small melon baller or paring knife, remove the inner flesh from the zucchini to form a small boat shape, leaving a shell on the sides and bottom approximately 1/4-inch thick. Lightly salt the inside of each zucchini and set aside, cut sides down, on paper towels to drain while you prepare the filling. Rub the outside skin with olive oil.
In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 -7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the ground beef and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Add the parsley, herbs de provence, and tomatoes and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the meat sauce uncovered until most of the liquid evaporates.
Place the zucchini boats on a lightly greased sheet pan. Fill each with the ground meat filling, pressing lightly to even the surface. Sprinkle half (1/4 cup) of the parmesan cheese over the boats.
Prepare a béchamel sauce and mix the additional 1/4 cup of parmesan into the sauce. Spoon over the boats. If you wish, you can save any extra béchamel for serving. Bake until the zucchini is cooked through and the béchamel sauce is golden brown (about 30 minutes).
Note: I actually cooked the zucchini for a half an hour and then left it in the (turned off) oven for 10 minutes longer while I made the rice. This worked perfectly and the zucchini were done all the way through.
Serve on their own or with a side of rice. Yum!
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