Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 4

2 pounds medium-sized zucchini (5 or 6 of them)

1-1/4 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely minced

2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut in small dice (canned is fine)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 eggs

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste

Dry breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Optional potato base:  2 or 3 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and peeled, sliced fairly thin, mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of melted butter and some salt and pepper.  Layer the potatoes in a greased 13 x 9 –inch glass or ceramic baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for 45 minutes to an hour while you prepare the zucchini.  Stir the potatoes gently a couple of times during baking.  They should be almost tender by the time you put the stuffed zucchini on top to bake them.

Cut the ends off the zucchini.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, lower the zucchini into the pot, and boil gently for five minutes.  Drain the zucchini and set them aside to cool a little so you can handle them.  Cut the zucchini in half crosswise, then cut each piece in half lengthwise.   Using a small spoon (a grapefruit spoon works well), cut a trench in each piece, being careful not to cut all the way through.  You’ll have hollow, short lengths of zucchini for stuffing.  Set the parts you scoop out aside and chop them finely.

Put the beef in a medium-sized saucepan (preferably nonstick) with 3 cups of cold water.  Using your hands, mix the beef and water, squeezing the meat so that it separates into fine pieces.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring with a spoon to make sure it doesn’t clump together.  When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.  The meat should just start to lose its red or pink color.  Drain the meat through a fine strainer and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and sauté the onion with some salt and pepper for about 8 minutes, until they’re soft but not browned.  Add the reserved chopped zucchini and the tomatoes, raise the heat, and cook until the zucchini is almost dry.  Add the drained meat, the Worcestershire, paprika, and the 1/8 teaspoon each of cayenne and cinnamon.   Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the mixture is just a little moist (you can add some water to it while cooking if you need to).  Taste it, and add more cayenne, cinnamon, salt, and pepper to your taste.

Let the filling cool until it’s just lightly warm to the touch, then stir in the eggs and parmesan cheese.  Fill the zucchini halves with the mixture, mounding slightly in the middle.  Place the filled zucchini on top of the roasting potatoes if you’re using them, otherwise place them in a greased 13 x 9 – inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle the tops lightly with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the zucchini are just cooked through and the tops are just a little browned.

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One Response to Stuffed Zucchini

  1. Pingback: The best Maltese export since the falcon — and you don’t have to kill for it « Vine Art … from the palate of first vine wine online

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