Friday, July 27, 2007

Zucchini Ripieni/Stuffed Zucchini -or- Pomodori Ripieni/Stuffed Tomatoes

With summer's always abundant zucchini crops, I love to find and create recipes using this versatile vegetable. This is an old-standby, but one that I continually go back to as it is so delicious.

Zucchini Ripieni
serves four as a side dish
2 large zucchini
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Trim the ends from the zucchini and cut in half in lengthwise. Make a "boat" out of the zucchini using a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the middle, leaving about 1/4" thickness and setting aside the zucchini "meat" to use later. Set zucchini in a baking dish. Finely chop the parsley and the zucchini meat. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, olive oil and zucchini meat along with generous grindings of fresh pepper and some salt. Mix well. The mixture should look crumbly but when pinched should stick together. Fill the zucchini boats with the stuffing pressing down the filling so that it stays put. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the zucchini looks done and the filling is golden brown on top.

This is a great side dish, or a main dish as a vegetarian meal. I find it goes well with a hearty red wine.

Another use for this recipe: Pomodori Ripieni or Stuffed Tomatoes
You can use the same stuffing mixture above, minus the zucchini "meat" to stuff tomatoes. Use Roma tomatoes or small round tomatoes. Cut in half and with a knife carefully remove the internal white membrane, leaving the juices in the tomato. Stuff with the mixture and bake the same, until golden brown and the tomatoes looked cooked. Delicious!!!

Buon appetito!

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