Friday, August 19, 2011
I guess it wouldn't officially be summer without serving something stuffed right? Okay, I have a serious love/hate relationship with zucchini--I'll be the first to admit it. I just love it's lovely yellow blossoms. I hate that one plant yields so much fruit all at once-I probably serve it three times weekly around here. I love the tender nutty flavor of a four inch zucchini and how lovely it presents in many dishes with it's vibrant green color.. it's truly delicious.
Some call this vegetable boring, but truth be known zucchini is one of the many squash plants we grow, and in moderation, I seldom tire of it. This year I wanted to add to my squash patch, so we tried growing round Tondo zucchini. They are really so sweet looking in the garden, the yield so far has been great and now I have a new dish to squash to stuff! You really don't need to use solely the Tondo or round zucchini for this recipe, the typical Italian long squash, delicata squash, Leabanese cousa or pattypan squash will do equally as well.
Come on, fess up-- you know you have a gazillion of these heading into torpedodom(is this really a word?) in your garden right now. With a few simple ingredients along with a few helping hands to assist you in harvesting you can have a really satisfying squash dish to serve your family in no time. What I like the most about stuffed vegetable is that they can be served as a side dish to meat or fish or as part of an antipasto. The fillings are limitless and can be a simple breadcrumbs with herbs, or a meat filling for a more substantial meal. Use your imagination!
P.S. I'm sure you already know this, but if you should come across some of those overgrown torpedoes in your garden, haul them into the kitchen, grate them all up, allow them to drain and toss them into zip lock bags and freeze for cooler weather recipes.
Stuffed Round Zucchini
4 round Tondo or long zucchini
2 TBLS olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 slices pancetta, diced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 TBLS pine nuts
4 TBLS panko bread crumbs
2 TBLS fresh basil leaves, torn
2 oz freshly grated romano cheese
1/4 cup grated fontina cheese
2 TBLS olive oil
2 TBLS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Cut off the top of the round zucchini or cut a slice lengthwise from the long zucchini. Scoop out the flesh, making sure that you don't cut through the skin, leaving a shell 1/4 inch thick. Chop the vegetable flesh and put aside in a bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes until golden. Add the chopped vegetables flesh and basil and cook for 3-4 minutes until the flesh is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.
Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, panko crumbs, cheese to the vegetable mixture and season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared zucchini shells and drizzle with the olive oil and place the stuffed squash into an oven proof casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the foil top, and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and bake uncovered 10 minutes longer,until the cheese is lightly browned. Enjoy!