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Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

I can’t help myself. It’s zucchini time and for me that means another stuffed zucchini recipe. Come on — who can deny that these little orbs weren’t crying out for some stuffing? I’ve posted several stuffed zucchini recipes in the past – stuffed with ricotta cheese, with cheesy rice and veggies, and with ground turkey.  This time it’s a bread stuffing, but one enriched with sausage – really good sausage, from a nearby organic farm called “Simply Grazin.” Their products are also sold at Whole Foods, at least in this part of New Jersey.
 If you’re not growing your own round zucchini, or can’t find them in the market, the long variety of zucchini will do just as well. I can’t resist this adorable variety however, so I make sure to plant them in the garden each year.
Score the inside with a sharp knife, then scoop out the interior, leaving a small perimeter of flesh. A grapefruit spoon works well here, but try not to pierce the outer skin.
 Boil the zucchini for about five minutes, then drain.
Make the stuffing using some sturdy Italian or French bread, cooked sausage, peppers, onions and seasonings — plus eggs and some parmesan cheese. You could add other ingredients to suit your taste, or what’s in your fridge, like mushrooms or mozzarella cheese.
Season the interior of the zucchini well before putting the stuffing inside. Smear a little olive oil in an ovenproof casserole, place the zucchini inside and bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour.
 Keep an eye on it because the top may brown a little too much — in which case you’ll want to cover with a bit of aluminum foil. Bake for 1/2 hour or longer, until cooked through.
Another alternative is to slice the zucchini in half and stuff each half. The presentation isn’t as dramatic as having the whole globes with stuffing peeping out the top, but it does make for a bit more even cooking. Plus a whole stuffed zucchini can be a lot for small appetites to finish at one sitting. Make sure you season the zucchini well with salt and pepper before stuffing them.
In this case, I topped the stuffed halves with grated parmesan cheese, and I placed them in a casserole where I had started roasting some grape tomatoes from the garden. Place the casserole in the oven at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour or longer, until the tomatoes have had a chance to caramelize and the bread stuffing is cooked through.
Who wouldn’t want to sit down to dinner with this as the main event?

Stuffed Zucchini with sausage
Printable Recipe Here

4 zucchini, round or long

Cut out inside of zucchini and save for another recipe (like chocolate zucchini cake or zucchini cheese scones). Boil the zucchini halves in water for about five minutes. Drain. Season the inside of the zucchini, then stuff.

stuffing:
1 lb. sausage
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 large onion, diced
2 T. olive oil
2 cups bread cubes (sturdy, day old is best)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup parsley
salt, pepper

Take the casing off the sausage. Fry the sausage in a little bit of oil, breaking it up in the pan with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through. Drain and remove sausage from pan. Set it aside. Saute the red pepper and onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil until softened. Drain. Mix the sausage, peppers and onions with the bread cubes and the rest of the ingredients until well combined. This is enough stuffing for at least four round or long zucchini.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour or until the top is well browned.
Roast with small grape tomatoes, if available.
If you have extra stuffing, just place the stuffing in a small ovenproof cup that’s been greased. Bake along with the zucchini or save for another time.