Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

If you're not a fan of zucchini, bear with me this week. I'm trying to get creative with the vegetable, as I have a surfeit and ironically no one in my household is particularly smitten with it. Whenever I cook or bake with zucchini it's usually to integrate it or craft it into something a bit different.

This is my first time stuffing it, but I've had such success with stuffing spaghetti squash that I couldn't resist. This recipe is from Skinnytaste, whose recipes aren't always paleo-friendly but have always been hits for me (and are usually simple so pretty adaptable).

In this case the recipe does include dairy, which I did include because I think the bubbly melted cheese on top really makes the dish. You could certainly skip it, and perhaps top your zucchini boats with some chopped basil or a little dollop of pesto after baking them.

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
adapted from Skinnytaste

1 1/4 cups homemade marinara sauce
4 medium zucchini
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced
4 minced garlic cloves
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 lb. crumbled Italian sausage
1/2 cup organic shredded mozzarella
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4" thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.

Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12" baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.

In a large saute pan, brown sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces until browned; set aside. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Combine with sausage and cook a few more minutes.

Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup cooked sausage, pressing firmly. Top each with 2 tablespoons each of sauce, 1 tablespoon each of shredded mozzarella cheese and a little grated Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

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