If you adore fresh zucchini, but are unsure what to do with it besides making bread or a quick sauté, keep reading. This versatile member of the squash family is fantastic in anything from salads to desserts.
Former Tulsan turned Hawaiian, Chef Lisa Lang, shares her recipe for stuffed zucchini that she has been making for years. Because she has been making it for so long and could do it in her sleep, there was no exact recipe. My challenge was to formulate her basic instructions into a recipe. Hopefully the end result is close to her expectations.
Versions of stuffed zucchini are plentiful in cookbooks and all over the internet, although the stuffing usually contains sausage or beef as well as sautéed veggies, sometimes rice and a sprinkling of cheese.
Lisa’s meatless Italian version of this recipe combines the chopped flesh of the zucchini with onion, garlic, cooked rice, Parmesan, lemon zest and fresh herbs. Fresh breadcrumbs and a little more Parmesan make a pleasantly crunchy topping.
Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Makes 4 servings
- 2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
- Fresh bread crumbs from 1 slice of bread (generous ½ cup)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish.
Hollow out zucchini halves, creating “boats.” Finely chop the zucchini flesh and reserve.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, reduce heat to medium; add the onion and reserved zucchini. Add a little salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and zucchini is softened. Add garlic, herbs and lemon zest. Continue cooking for another minute until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in rice and ½ cup Parmesan. Adjust seasoning and spoon filling into hollowed out zucchini; place in prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine remaining Parmesan and fresh bread crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the stuffed zucchini. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until topping is golden brown and zucchini is tender.