Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I'm woefully behind on posts, I know. I'll probably never catch up. I give up1 I just need to start keeping up with current meals, I guess.

This was a perfect summer meal, if you ask me. I was able to use vegetables and herbs straight from my garden, so you can't get food that's grown more locally than that! This tastes so incredibly fresh and summery; it's a perfect way to put your summer harvest to use! I also love the way the whole mess smells while it's cooking. It's floral and fragrant and smells just like "yum"!

Overall, I was a big fan. Graham? Not so much. He was pretty indifferent--zucchini isn't one of his favorite vegetables. We made sure to grill up some 'meat and potatoes'-type meals for him to compensate for the "Angieness" of this one, so we're even now.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

2 6-inch zucchini
2 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
1 lb. turkey sausage, crumbled
3 T. white wine
2 or 3 tomatoes, seeded & diced
3 T. fresh basil. chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt & pepper, to taste

Chop the stem ends off the zucchini and slice each in half. Scoop out the insides, leaving a shell approximately 1/4 inch thick (this helps the zucchini to keep its shape while baking). Reserve approximately 1/2 the scooped out insides. Set zucchini halves aside.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 T. olive oil (I always eyeball it). Saute the onion & garlic till tender and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully so you don't burn your garlic! Add the mushrooms and reserved zucchini to the skillet and saute 3 more minutes--keep the mixture in a single layer if possible, to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat.

In a second skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the crumbled turkey sausage and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the onion & zucchini mixture, and heat together for a few minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, and herbs and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Heat oven to 375 F. When mixture has cooled just enough, stir in parmesan and egg. (You want the mixture to be cooled enough so you don't cook your egg.) Season with salt and pepper. I start with about 1/4 tsp. each. Mix well and taste for seasonings--add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Find your zucchini halves and spoon in the mixture. Fill a glass baking dish with about 1/4 inch water and place the zucchini halves inside. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes:
  • The zucchini boats will soften up significantly upon cooling, so it's important you serve these warm. No one likes a soggy zuke.
  • The original recipe called for ground turkey. I chose to substitute turkey sausage because it yields a little more flavor, and I liked that the turkey sausage was a little healthier, to boot.
  • If you use dried herbs, start with 1/4 tsp. of each, and crush them between your palms to release any oils trapped inside. These are perfect for summer because you can use fresh herbs, but dried will work fine too as long as you don't go crazy with them.
  • These will also work well stuffed with rice to make them vegetarian. Cook your rice in a separate pot and add it at the very end when you mix it all together. I'd probably undercook the rice a touch so it doesn't overcook in the oven.
  • These are pretty easy to throw together--less than an hour from start to finish, so they're good for weeknights. They also look really impressive on the plate so they're good for company, too!


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