Roasted Stuffed Zucchini

        From the blog For Love of the Table

4 medium zucchini (about 5 oz. each)

2 to 4 T. olive oil

1 small onion (4 to 5 oz.), finely diced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 large vine ripe tomato or 2 Roma tomatoes (about 6 oz. total weight), peeled, seeded and diced with juices reserved

1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs

2 oz. Gruyère cheese, finely grated

zest of 1 lemon

1 T. picked thyme, minced

1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs


Trim the ends of the zucchini and split lengthwise.  Using a melon baller, scoop out the flesh of each zucchini half, leaving the walls of the zucchini about 1/4  inch thick.  Chop and reserve the insides.


Blanch the zucchini halves in boiling salted water until just soft and flexible—about 6 to 8 minutes.  Refresh in cold water.  Set cut side down on paper towels to drain.  If you prefer, you may cook them for a couple of minutes less and skip the refreshing process.  Simply transfer to towels to cool and steam dry.


Warm a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan.  Add the onion and stew over medium heat until soft (if the pan seems dry, add more oil).  Add the reserved zucchini insides, the garlic and a pinch of salt.  When the zucchini begins to release its liquid, increase the heat and continue to cook until nearly dry.  Add the tomato along with the reserved juices and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato liquid has evaporated.  Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and let cool briefly.  Add the soft breadcrumbs, cheese, lemon zest and thyme and mix well.  Taste and correct the seasoning.


Arrange the shells in an oiled baking dish just large enough to hold the zucchini in a snug single layer.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Divide the filling among the zucchini halves, spreading and forming it with your fingers.  Do not pack it down; it should be slightly mounded.  Sprinkle the dried breadcrumbs over the stuffed zucchini and drizzle with more olive oil.  The zucchini may be prepared to this point earlier in the day and chilled.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding.  Bake in a preheated 375° to 400° oven until the zucchini is very tender, the filling is bubbling, and the tops are lightly browned—about 25 to 35 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature with a salad or as an accompaniment to grilled meats or fish.  Serves 4.


(Recipe adapted from the Victory Garden)