You can stuff the zucchini a day ahead of time and bake right before serving.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 1 large zucchini, 12 to 14 inches long (about 1 1/4 to 2 pounds) or 3 to 4 medium zucchini
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 slices bread, pulsed in food processor or blender to make fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
- 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 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (less or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 375°F.
2 Cook the sausage: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the sausage, and gently cook until it is mostly (but not completely) cooked through.
Stir frequently and break up the sausage into smaller pieces while it cooks. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
3 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 and discard any thick seeds from the insides you've scooped out.
Chop up about a cup of the remaining zucchini flesh. (Whatever remains beyond a cup use for another purpose, discard, or compost.)
4 Cook the onions and garlic: You should have 1 tablespoon 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, and heat 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, remove from the skillet and add it to the bowl of sausage.
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 and add 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, which will help zucchini cook evenly and prevent the bottom of it from drying out too much in the oven.
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Let sit to cool briefly before serving.