My mom was a resourceful cook, creating delicious meals with limited resources. She grew up in a poor family of Sicilian immigrants, and learned to cook from my nana by adapting recipes from the Old Country to more modern American ingredients. Mom taught me many of her secrets, and I’m happy to share with you one of our family favorites – her Italian Stuffed Zucchini Recipe.
Summer is the perfect time to make this dish, since zucchini is in abundance at farmers markets and backyard vegetable gardens. Although you can make this recipe with any type of zucchini, I found the globe zucchini variety at our local Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market. They are fun to hollow out and use as natural cups to hold all the cheesy goodness. However, the recipe works just as well with regular zucchini – just make sure you get them large enough to work with.
Italian Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
Start with four good size zucchini. Whether you have globe zucchini or the regular type, hollow them out like you would a pumpkin at Halloween. Set aside the insides – we will use them in the recipe.
How to Make this Italian Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
Mom would plop the hollowed zucchini in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes to soften them. I have skipped this step once or twice when making this dish. It really depends on whether you want to enjoy the finished product with a knife and fork, or more softened like a casserole.
Gather the following ingredients:
- 4 zucchini (globe or regular)
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 medium (or 1 large) portobello mushroom, cubed
- 1 cup bread crumbs (mom made her own but who has time for that?!?)
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I used a mix of Italian cheeses readymade from Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 cup romano cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs chopped parsley
- 2 tbs chopped basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Take the sausage out of its casing, crumble and fry in a pan with oil, onions and garlic.
- Add mushroom and insides of zucchini, cooking until just tender.
- In a large bowl, combine the sausage mixture with the bread crumbs, egg, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.
- Stuff the zucchini until heaping, and place in a greased baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until tender.
- Serve with a dash of parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh basil.
Mangia! Now you have made one of our family’s favorites – our Italian Stuffed Zucchini recipe!
Along side this delicious Italian Stuffed Zucchini recipe, think of serving something colorful and fresh. You can roast cherry or plum tomatoes in the pan with the stuffed zucchini if that sounds good to you. Just toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and then place in the tomatoes in the bottom of the same pan to roast in the oven.
Or if you can find those meaty, delicious heirloom tomatoes at the market, serve those sliced with some buffalo mozzarella. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Then top with slices of fresh basil. Sooooo summery and delicious!
And if you like zucchini, try our authentic Pasta with Zucchini Blossoms recipe!