It depends on were you live in the world, but fresh zucchini may be in your near future. They’ll be plentiful at the farmers’ markets, in the grocery stores, and in lots of neighborhood gardens. And what are you going to do with all those zucchinis?
Let me show you this easy and tasty way to serve stuffed zucchini. Serve this as an appetizer, a light lunch, or as a side dish with pasta or grilled meat. We had these as a side with pasta and my marinara sauce; the combination was really good.
You’ll start by boiling the whole zucchinis in a pan of water for 5 to 10 minutes, then let them cool so you’ll be able to slice them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp without burning your fingers. I boiled them for about 6 minutes and thought they tested done when I poked them with a paring knife, but I found that some were still too firm inside to easily scoop out the pulp. I nuked 3 of the still-firm halves for another 30 seconds, which was just right. You need to be careful not to overdo it or else they’ll get mushy when you bake them.
To make the filling, chop the pulp, ham, and parsley in a food processor, put it all in a bowl with the white sauce, bread crumbs, then add salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently and pile it into the scooped out zucchinis.
Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with parmesan, and bake. You’re going to love the fragrance as they turn golden brown and delicious in the oven.
- 5 or 6 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- 4 oz boiled ham
- 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- white sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly shredded parmesan for topping the stuffed zucchinis
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Boil the zucchinis in a large saucepan in salted water for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size. Drain and place in cool water, set aside.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium pan, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste, then quickly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 or 3 minutes longer until thickened. Add the nutmeg, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until smooth.
- Dry the cooled zucchini with paper towels, trim off both ends, and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp with a small spoon, leaving a 1/4" thick shell. Chop the pulp, ham, and parsley in a food processor, then add it all to a bowl, and mix in the bread crumbs and white sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Stuff the zucchinis, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden and crusty.