Zucchini’s not something I normally eat a lot of. You see it piled high on plates with broccoli, squash, and carrots at restaurants under the name “seasonal vegetables.” Why are those same vegetables always in season at restaurants? Do they have some sort of time machine that lets them have these when it’s clearly not their season? Why yes, they do–it’s called frozen. Well, summer squash is in season and we’re being overrun by them at the U-Pick stands at in the stores. We talked a little in the forthcoming podcast about stuffing them and using them as boats for other ingredients. I searched around and developed a spin on a recipe from one of my many cookbooks. The sauce underfoot is a deliciously sweet tomato base with a hint of cinnamon. You Moosewood fans might recognize it. I made 8 of these and we each had two for dinner with a salad–cause we’re turning into vegetarian rabbits and then two more for lunch at work the next day. $4 of zucchini and I cleaned out the pantry and refrigerator with the other ingredients. You can’t beat $1 per serving! You obviously want to cut the amounts in half if you’re making a smaller batch. Here we go:
by Jason Osborne, adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites
Yield 10 zucchini halves
For the Sauce:
Three cups of Francine’s Weeknight Marinara
Half a stick of butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp good-quality cinnamon
For the Zucchini:
5 small or medium zucchini
For the Filling:
3 cloves garlic, diced or pressed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 cup prepared brown rice
1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup parmesan
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Prepare sauce by heating prepared marinara and stir remaining ingredients in. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Split zucchini lengthwise and score or piece the meat in several places to make removing it easier after it is cooked. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast skin side up for 20 minutes or until the flesh is fork-tender.
While zucchini are in the oven, combine filling ingredients. I toasted my breadcrumbs and pecans on the lower rack while my zucchini was roasting. I then grated my carrot hunks with the pecans in the food processor, then added the tomatoes for a few seconds. Beats the heck out of chopping and multitasking saves time!
After the fruits have cooled, scoop out the flesh from each half with a spoon. Chop the flesh and add to the filling. Arrange the “boats” on the same baking sheet and pile each one high with the filling. Top with more breadcrumbs or shredded cheese. I used cheddar. Bake in the same 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and bubbly. Ladle the sauce onto a plate and place zucchini on top.
Try it, it’s good!