Fellow gardeners, you know this tale well. You step away from your garden bed for 1 minute (or a weekend) and come back to find a monster zucchini hiding in the greenery.
Sometimes the plant warns you. Regular zucchini production starts slowing down, odd for early summer. The reason? All of the plant’s attention is going to feeding that one humungous baseball bat of a zuke.
Fortunately, those ginormous zucchinis are perfect for stuffing!
You just cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scoop out the insides, leaving a shell to stuff with whatever your heart desires.
This week my heart desired Italian sausage, so my friends, this is what we are using to stuff this particular zucchini.
We brown some Italian sausage, onions, garlic, and some of the zucchini insides, and mix it with fresh breadcrumbs, basil, tomatoes, oregano, and Parmesan cheese. One egg is all you need to bind the stuffing together.
Into the oven it goes to bake for 40 minutes. Yum!
Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini RecipePrint
You can stuff the zucchini a day ahead of time and bake right before serving.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage, out of casing
- 1 large zucchini, 12 to 14 inches long (about 1 1/4 to 2 lbs) or 3-4 medium zucchini
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 slices of bread, pulsed in food processor or blender to make fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (less or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Cook the sausage: Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet on medium to medium high heat. Add the sausage, and gently cook until the sausage is mostly (but not all) cooked through.
Stir frequently and break up the sausage into smaller pieces while it cooks. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
2 Prep the zucchini: Cut the zucchini in half. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini, leaving the zucchini shell about 1/4-inch thick. Remove any thick seeds from the insides you've scooped out.
Chop up about half of the remaining zucchini flesh (you should have about a cup).
3 Cook the onions and garlic: You should have 1 Tbsp of fat in the pan (rendered from the sausage). If not, add more olive oil so that you have at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan. Heat the pan on medium high heat.
Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
Add the chopped zucchini and cook a minute or two more.
Add to the bowl of sausage.
4 Preheat oven to 375°F.
5 Make the stuffing: Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients to the sausage and onions.
6 Stuff the zucchini and bake: Place the zucchini halves in a baking dish. Stuff them with the stuffing. (At this point you can make ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.) Add 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the pan.
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
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