Italian Tomato-Basil Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Zucchini: 4 medium zucchini (about 1 pound each)
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons, divided
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: to taste
  • Italian Sausage: 1 pound (sweet or spicy, your preference)
  • Onion: 1 small, chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Diced Tomatoes: 1 (14.5-ounce) can, undrained
  • Fresh Basil: 1/2 cup chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Ricotta Cheese: 1 cup
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: 1 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese: 1/4 cup grated

Instructions

Prep the Zucchini:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Wash the zucchini and trim the ends. Cut them in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the zucchini flesh using a spoon, leaving about 1/4 inch border. Reserve the scooped-out flesh for the filling.

Make the Filling:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned.
  • Add chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes (undrained), chopped zucchini flesh, and 1/2 cup chopped basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Finish Filling and Bake:

  • In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir the ricotta mixture into the sausage-tomato mixture.
  • Generously fill the zucchini boats with the filling.
  • Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Bake and Finish

  • Place the zucchini in the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini are tender.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese over the zucchini and bake for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Garnish with fresh basil before serving.

Tips:

  • Larger Zucchini: For very large zucchini, cut into 2-3 inch rounds instead of halves.
  • Alternative Filling: Use ground beef or turkey instead of sausage. You can also create a vegetarian filling using cooked quinoa or lentils mixed with the tomato-basil sauce and cheeses.
  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the filling and stuff the zucchini ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to bake. Adjust baking time as needed.

Enjoy! This is a delicious and satisfying way to use up summer zucchini. Serve with a fresh green salad for a complete meal.

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