|Zucchini Madness Has Begun|
Jul 28th, 2006
The annual off-loading of produce onto the neighbors has begun in my 'hood, and my fridge is currently stuffed full of summer squash. I've got regular skinny green zucchini, little yellow patty pans (so cute!), and these weird pale green eggplant-shaped squash that my neighbor calls melons.
She's originally from China, which explains her confusion over the proper taxonomic classification of the fruits of her backyard garden - and she weighs approximately ninety pounds, which explains why she can only consume a very small fraction of said fruits and has to hand the excess off to our confused children when they go on their daily cookie run to her house.
I don't know either exactly what kind of summer squash these guys are, but they looked perfect for stuffing - being of a bulbous and sturdy constitution. So I stuffed one with a combination of mushrooms, onions, and feta, topped the halves with a mixture of pine nuts and seasoned bread crumbs, and baked them in tomato sauce. The result was delicious and fed me for an entire day - one half for lunch and one for dinner. But, big sigh, that only took care of one of these monsters and I've got more... not to mention the patty pans and their ilk. So bring on the zucchini recipes people - I've got some squash to cook.
**For those low-carbers out there, I think you could just eliminate the bread crumbs and go for a seasoned pine nut topping, maybe with a bit of shredded parmesan mixed in.
Stuffed Zucchini with Mushrooms & Feta1 large or 2 medium zucchini
5 - 6 largish cremini mushrooms, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces feta, crumbled
a handful of chopped herbs such as basil & mint
1 14 ounce can tomato sauce or approx 2 cups homemade
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the flesh until you have two shells for stuffing. Chop the zucchini innards and place them in a bowl along with the mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
Toast the pinenuts over low heat and process in a mini-chopper or food processor (or use your mad knife skillz if necessary) with the remaining topping ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute the zucchini and mushroom mixture with a bit of olive oil. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked through and then add the feta and herbs and immediately pull the pan off the heat. Stir vigorously to mix in the melting cheese.
Place the hollowed out zucchini boats in a casserole or pyrex baking dash and fill with the cooked vegetable mixture. Top each with half the seasoned bread crumbs and pour the tomato sauce around the bottom of the boats, covering the bottom of the dish. Cover the dish with two layers of aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven until the sauce is bubbling and the zucchini boats are tender. Remove the foil and cook for another five minutes or so to brown the crumb topping.
Serve each stuffed zuchinni drizzled with the tomato sauce, and pass any remaining sauce at the table.