Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Risotto

I hate spraying things I am going to eat with chemicals.  In the 5 summers we have been here I have only had a success with the zucchini for 2 years.  Since then they have never lasted the whole season.  I tried spraying and kept them going one year, but the other years they always got ahead of me.  Then, Paige at the library told me that if you plant them after June 15th it is after the life cycle of the nasty little bug that kills them and I would be fine.  I did this and everything was great until today.  They are dying and that is the end of my zucchinis for this year.  Sure I can buy them in the store, but it isn't the same


Tomorrow I will pull them out and burn them.  I hope they don't get to my butternut squash.  Perhaps I need to spray them.  Well, Pooh.  Or whatever stuffed animal term you choose to use under these circumstances.

My cousin Karlyn tells me that they love the large zucchinis for making zucchini boats.  I looked around on the Internet and came up with this recipe.  I used up all the last of the zucchini and they were delicious.  A fitting end to the last of my home grown zucchini for 2012.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1 cup diced onions, divided
1/2 pound sausage
1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup ketchup
or 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
or 1/4 cup marinara sauce  Use what you have on hand.  I used the ketchup.

1 tomato, seeded and diced
5 or 6 basil leaves shredded
Italian seasoning
s & p
1 handful bread crumbs, about 1/4 cup
2 handsful of Parmesan Cheese, about 1/2 cup
1 egg
enough Mozzarella cheese or Jack cheese slices to cover the tops of the boats.

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a large oven proof dish with Pam, just in case.


Put 3/4 cup of the diced onions and the sausage in a large fry pan.  Cook until the sausage is browned and there is no more pink.  Add the garlic and cook for two minutes more.


While the meat is cooking.  Cut the stems off the zucchini.  Slice them lengthwise.  Use a melon baller to carefully scoop out the insides leaving about 1/4 inch of zucchini.  I went through in a few places and it still came out OK, so don't stress too much.  Toss half of  the insides and chop the rest and add them to the meat mixture.


Add the tomatoes and whichever tomato based sauce you like or have on hand.  I had ketchup so I used that rather than opening a tomato paste can.  Add the herbs to taste.  Also the salt and pepper.


Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  When it has cooled a bit , add in the egg and mix it all up. 


Spoon the meat into the hollowed out zucchini "boats".  Top with the cheese slices and place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

If you want a vegetarian version, do not discard 1/2 half of the zucchini.  Use it all.  Then use a marinara sauce and add about 1 cup.  Do the rest as the recipe suggests.  This is for YOU Tara!

While I was preparing the zucchini, I started the risotto.  Then I got distracted and burned the risotto, so I had to enlist Lee to do the stirring.  Make sure you have a stirrer at hand.


1/2 cup Arborio rice
at least 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Olive Oil
1/4 cup diced onions reserved from above
s & p
Parmesan Cheese


Put the oil and the butter in a heavy fry pan.  I used a cast iron number 6.  When the butter is melted add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the rice and stir.  Keep the heat low.  Add about 1/3 of the broth and stir frequently. 


When the liquid has absorbed and another 1/3.  This is not a fast process and if you rush it you will get crunchy rice.  Make sure you have at least 30 to 40 minutes until dinner. 
After a whole can of vegetable broth was absorbed ( about 2 cups), it still needed a bit more cooking.  So we added a bit of wine.  We had some white zinfandel and it turned out great.  I imagine a bit of water would work also. It only needed a few Tablespoons.  Then add the s & p, the cheese and a bit more butter.  Stir it until the cheese gets all gooey.

Serve with some fruit.

This made enough for four people.  Or for two people on two different nights.  Guess this means left overs.

1 comment:

  1. We had such a mild winter there are all kinds of bugs out there that we normally don't see so many of. I had a terrible time with cutworms in my kale. My zucchini are not doing all that well, either.