This weekend at the farmers’ market, just before I got soaked to the bone (remember the drowned-rat-like pictures of me?), I picked up a stuffing zucchini. It was an adorable little zucchini, about the size of a small melon, but still with its distinctive zucchini markings. Well, last night, we put it to its proper use and made stuffed zucchini. We also stuffed a red pepper, because we had extra stuffing, but the flavors blended so much better with the zucchini.
This recipe was awesome. It was rich and flavorful–the garlic and cheese really came through. I was worried the ground turkey would make it dry or bland, but it wasn’t either of those things. The zucchini gave it a nice, tender, savory flavor that really added to the dish. I would absolutely recommend trying it out–but if you do, be prepared. The prep is easy, but it takes a long time to bake–ours probably went for over an hour (but remember, our zucchini was really round. We cut it in half, but it was still a pretty sizable mound of stuffing in there). We served ours sliced in quarters, with a nice ciabatta roll on the side. It was so good, I can’t wait to eat the left-overs!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 large egg
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
2 zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise and crosswise (We used one round zucchini and one red bell pepper)
1 short orange bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 short red bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 short yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture.
Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini and pepper halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables.
Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to a platter and serve.