I usually plant a vegetable garden in my yard, but this year I am recovering from a broken femur (long story) and couldn’t really get into the garden to do much. In an effort to cheer me up, my very thoughtful, non-gardening, husband planted a few vegetable plants for me. One of the plants that he bought was a zucchini plant.
I had never grown zucchinis before so I was curious to see how this would go. Our weather was pretty bad for gardens this year, but one day I sent my hubby into the garden to see what he could find – and look what he brought in!
The picture below is one weeks worth of zucchini! And keep in mind this is just one plant. Now what do I do??
I stuffed one of the large “baseball bat” zucchinis with some orzo, browned Italian sausage, onions, green peppers, and left over pasta primavera sauce (see recipe below) – or use any tomato or spaghetti sauce that you have. You could also substitute rice for the orzo.
Before stuffing I cut the top off of the zucchini, leaving one part large enough to stuff. Scoop out the pithy middle then put the top back on and wrap in foil. Bake in a 325 oven for about ½ hour to soften the shell. Remove and let cool before stuffing.
Mix all your stuffing ingredients together and stuff the large half of the zucchini. Top with mozzarella cheese (or your favorite cheese) and bake in a 350◦ oven till cooked through and the cheese melts (about a half hour). I also put some cheese on the top of the zucchini and bake it along side of the large one.
Serve by cutting in slices. Stuffed Zucchini is a great item to take to a cookout because it will feed a crowd!
Other recipes using Zucchini
I ended up shredding a lot of the zucchini for storing in the freezer. I used some of the shredded zucchini to make a few other recipes:
Cheesy Zucchini Pancakes – I found this on Allrecipes.com – link provided. They are so easy to make and yummy with a dollop of sour cream! I added some sweetcorn to mine as well, which I would highly recommend! These are great for breakfast, and also went well with our Friday night fish fry. I found that this recipe made about 9 pancakes. If you have leftovers you could freeze them, but they also reheat well the next day.
PASTA PRIMAVERA – (Adapted – from the Frugal Gourmet Cookbook by Jeff Smith)
Years ago I found this Pasta Primavera recipe from the Frugal Gourmet – a TV Chef on PBS way back before the Food Network – and it has been a favorite of my family ever since. This recipe calls for shredded zucchini and finely chopped veggies to make a sauce that is outstanding!
- 4 to 5 tomatoes seeded and chopped (or 2 cans diced tomatoes – when fresh are not available)
- 4 small to medium zucchini, grated (ending up with 4 cups of grated zucchini)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium to large onion peeled and diced, fine
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup of red wine
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 pound of angel hair pasta, cooked
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ cup of heavy cream
In a large frying pan sauté the garlic and onion till the onion is clear. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil and oregano and simmer on medium heat till tomatoes have lost a little of their moisture. Add the zucchini and simmer for a 10 to 15 more minutes to reduce moisture.
Add the Parmesan or Romano cheese and 1 cup of red wine and simmer covered for about a half hour, stirring occasionally. Add more red wine if the sauce is getting too thick. Or, if the sauce seems too thin, simmer with the lid removed to reduce. You need to cook this long enough for the veggies to melt together to become a sauce. Once you reach this consistency, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Then add the egg, stirring while adding to the sauce.
Right before serving stir in the heavy cream. You can serve the pasta and sauce separate, or mix the pasta into the sauce to serve.