Meat

Maria’s Stuffed Zucchini

Maria’s Stuffed Zucchini

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Serves 4-6 

4 lbs large zucchini
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 1/3 cups parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
1 1/3 cups bread crumbs
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon sea salt*
1 egg
1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
White wine
Chicken broth
6-8 fresh sage leaves
20-25 cherry tomatoes, halved

 *Italians don’t tend to use much black pepper in their cuisine, so feel free to add freshly cracked pepper as well.

Soak the zucchini in cold water for 20 minutes to release grit, agitating them with your hands. Rub well under water to rinse. Using an apple corer (it may be easier to cut the zucchini in halves when coring), remove the central part of the zucchini (mostly seeds), but reserve any flesh that does not contain seeds. Mince the leftover flesh of the zucchini and set aside.

Prepare the filling: With your hands (clean those suckers before and after), mix the grated parmesan, the bread crumbs (if crumbs are very dry, you may need to reconstitute them in a bit of milk), the ground meats, the minced zucchini, the nutmeg, the zest, the salt, and the egg.

Liberally salt the inside of each zucchini and then fill with the meat mixture. In a wide pan (you may need two), pour in the olive oil over medium-high heat. When warm,
add the sliced onion and the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the stuffed zucchini, and then add chicken stock and wine in equal parts until the zucchini are about two-thirds covered. Add the sage, bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Toward the end, remove the zucchini and reduce the sauce (cover off) to an oil-like consistency. Serve by drizzling the reduced sauce over the zucchini.

Cook’s note: If you end up with any extra meat filling, you can simply make meatballs. Sauté them in a bit of oil, browning all sides, and then cover over a simmer with a little broth for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through (adding more cherry tomatoes here also lends a nice flavor).

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