Recipes Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats: A Culinary Delight

Zucchini, a versatile summer squash, takes center stage in this delectable dish, transformed into savory boats filled with a tantalizing medley of flavors. This traditional Italian recipe is a symphony of textures and aromas, offering a satisfying and nutritious meal that will impress both family and guests alike.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

Preparing the Zucchini:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell.
  3. Brush the inside of the zucchini boats with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Making the Filling:

  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage over medium heat. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened.
  3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Assembling the Boats:

  1. Fill the zucchini boats with the meat sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley. Sprinkle the mixture over the filled zucchini.
  3. Place the zucchini boats in a baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the filling is bubbling.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve the Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats hot, garnished with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
  • Pair with a side of crusty bread or a simple green salad.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy touch.

Variations:

  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the ground beef and Italian sausage with a combination of chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.
  • Add a layer of cooked rice or quinoa to the bottom of the zucchini boats before filling with the meat sauce.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor of the filling, such as thyme, rosemary, or red pepper flakes.
  • Top the zucchini boats with a layer of mozzarella or provolone cheese for a gooey and indulgent finish.

Tips:

  • Choose zucchini that are firm and have a deep green color.
  • Use a sharp knife to carefully scoop out the seeds and pulp from the zucchini.
  • If the zucchini boats are not filling up completely, you can cut the remaining zucchini into cubes and add them to the meat sauce.
  • Let the zucchini boats cool slightly before serving to prevent the filling from spilling out.

Nutritional Information:

One serving of Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats (1 zucchini boat) provides approximately:

  • Calories: 250
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams

Conclusion:

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a culinary masterpiece that combines the flavors of Italy with the freshness of summer vegetables. This versatile dish can be customized to suit any taste and is sure to become a favorite at family gatherings or special occasions. Whether you enjoy it as a main course or a side dish, the tantalizing combination of savory filling and tender zucchini will leave you craving more.

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