I picked up my first CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture—it’s a farm share) yesterday from Bush-n-Vine, a nearby farm. It was a good one: early tomatoes, some sweet late strawberries, lettuce, Swiss chard, and these guys.
I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what they were at first, but it turns out they are round zucchini. Who knew such a thing even existed? And that’s all they are: round zucchini. No unusual flavor, nothing different except the shape, and the shape is so much fun.
These little guys were begging to be hollowed out and stuffed.
Which is what I did.
I sliced off the tops. Then I took a small spoon and scooped out the insides.
I brushed them all over with olive oil, salted and peppered the insides and stuck them in the oven to par-cook while I made the stuffing.
A hunt through my refrigerator offered up sweet Italian sausage, leftover cooked rice, and some white cheddar cheese. The pantry gave me an onion, garlic and breadcrumbs. And my garden handed over some parsley and a jalapeno. Everything I needed to make stuffed round zucchini.
I browned the sausage in a little fat, breaking it up into smaller pieces. Once cooked, I took it out of the pan, leaving the fat behind and added chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Once they had softened and smelled delicious, I added the zucchini from inside the squash.
Let it all cook down until it is soft and delicious then add the rice and sausage. Salt and pepper, give it a stir and a taste, and set it aside to cool a bit before stirring in grated cheese.
While it is cooling, make a topping with some chopped parsley, breadcrumbs and a little oil to bind it together.
Fill the baked zucchini shells with the stuffing and top with breadcrumbs.
Finish in the oven for ten or fifteen minutes until it’s hot or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Here you go: stuffed round zucchini!
STUFFED ROUND ZUCCHINI
- 2 round zucchini squash
- ½ onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ to 1 jalapeno chopped
- 1 sweet Italian sausage
- 1 c cooked rice
- ½ c grated white cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Wash the outside of the squash, slice off and reserve the top. Using small spoon, scoop out the flesh of the squash leaving a ¼” inside to form secure shell. Coarsely chop the flesh of the squash and reserve. Rub a little olive oil over the interior and exterior of the squash shells and the tops. Salt and pepper the insides of the shells. Place the shells and tops on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender.
- While the squash is precooking prepare the filling.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Remove the casing from the sausage and brown the meat, breaking it up with a fork until it is in crumbles. Remove the meat from the pan leaving the oil behind. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and jalapeno and sauté until soft. Add the chopped zucchini to the onion mixture and continue cooking until it gives up its moisture and is soft and reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice, sausage and cheese.
- Fill the shells with the stuffing mixture.
- Make the topping by stirring together the chopped parsley and bread crumbs. Add 2 tsps of olive oil to moisten the mixture.
- Spread the topping over the stuffing in the shells.
- Place the shells in a baking pan along with their tops. Return to the oven and heat for 15 minutes until piping hot throughout.
Notes: The shells can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to serve them. To bake from cold, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes until fully hot.
This method works equally well with regular zucchini or other summer squash.
For more flavor use a spicy Italian sausage