Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Stuffed Zucchini (it’s gluten free, too!)

Did anyone besides me get a kick out of Wednesday's numerical date: 07/08/09? My kids were telling me the corny joke: Why did number 6 fear number 7? Because 7 "ate" 9. Yeah, I know. It did make me laugh though.

Any-who, movin' on ... I’m getting a jump-start on the plethora of zucchini soon to be making it’s annual summertime appearance. I love zucchini. My favorites are the baby or small sized green goodies; however, I’m not picky at all when it come to the preparation method. I’ll eat it sauteed with garlic and cheese; I’ll eat it au gratin if you please. I would eat it in my house, I would eat it with my spouse. I would eat it with green eggs and ham; I would eat it with Sam I Am! Uh, I’m hoping you are all familiar with Dr. Seuss ... you know ... green eggs ... ham ... Sam.Just look at that golden crisp top! I bet every Dr. Seuss character would love love this. This recipe is a keeper for sure. Its origins are Northern Italian, and I got it out of a cookbook by Biba Caggiano years ago. You may recall that I’m Southern Italian. There is a big difference between those two regions; however, I love all Italian food and this recipe is no exception.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe to be gluten free. It’s easy. It uses regular ingredients. And it’s very filling. You will love it. Love. It. This baby is *company-serving-worthy*, too. Your guests will love it, and will love you for making it! Love. You. Yep, lots of love in this recipe. This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.

Let’s begin!

2 small zucchini
Alfredo sauce – see below
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ cup cooked ham, chopped (don’t use a sweet ham)
½ cup rice or corn Chex, crushed fine (corn Chex are now gluten free, too!)
NOTE: You can substitute fresh breadcrumbs for the Chex.
Seasoned Salt
Ground Pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Alfredo Sauce (Makes more than you need)
1 stick butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup parmesan cheese
¾ cup Mozzerella cheese, freshly shredded

Make the sauce first. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and swirl around in the butter for about 20 seconds. Add the milk, cream, and white pepper all at once, stir, and bring to a low simmer. Add the parm cheese. Stir. When it is incorporated, add the Mozz cheese. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until thickened. It will thicken even more as it sits.

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a baking dish. Prepare zucchini by washing it. Fill a large pan 2/3rds full with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes for really small zucchini, or a couple minutes longer if your zucc’s are medium sized. The zucchini should be barely tender. Rinse under cold water, then pat dry. Trim ends off zucchini and slice zucchini in half lengthwise.Scoop out the pulp using a melon baller or small spoon, and place the zucchini cut side down on paper towels to drain. Place the pulp in a mixing bowl, and roughly mash the pulp with a fork or two knives. Stir in the chopped ham.How are your chopping skills? I give myself a B+. I’m pretty good with this particular knife, but I’m not going to enter a chopping competition. Now, if we were talking about shredding or peeling ... I’m your girl. I can peel carrots and potatoes at the speed of light, and dispense pounds of shredded cheese in mere minutes. Um, sorry ... let’s get back to the recipe. After you add your ham, add the parsley, Chex, seasoned salt, and pepper. Fold in about ¼ cup of sauce.Filling should be the consistency of a bread stuffing. Taste and adjust seasoning. My youngest loved the filling right out of the bowl. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture – really mound it high. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Put the stuffed zucc’s in a buttered baking dish.Bake 20 minutes, crank up the broiler and broil for about 5 minutes or until the top is golden brown.Mmm, mmm, good! These are deceptively filling, and are the main dish – definitely not a side dish. It pairs perfectly with a summer green salad tossed with a light vinaigrette. Just look at how great these are!The ham is so delicate in the filling, but definitely is an important component of the overall dish. The alfredo sauce made with just one garlic clove is the perfect binder for the filling. The Chex perform outstandingly as they provide great body in the filling.So, when your garden is overflowing with zucch’s, give this recipe a try. What’s your favorite way to prepare this green goody?

PS: Follow the link to Mediterranean Kiwi's blog titled Organically Cooked -- she's posted a great zucchini recipe (dated 07/08/09) served with veal! YUM!


Mediterranean kiwi said...

you know my garden is full of this stuff - i have to try this

gemma said...

This looks so delicious I want to make it right now. I will later for sure.

Aggie said...

Wow!! These look fantastic, I want some for lunch (as I'm eating my Great recipe!

Manggy said...

My parents (and I) loved this simple recipe from Jamie Oliver that involved sauteeing the slices in olive oil, lemon, and chili flakes :) But whether we're overflowing with zucch or not (... likely not, hehe), I would love to give these bad boys a shot!

7 ate 9... Oboy! :P

Grace said...

aside from the obvious awesomeness of that sauce, i think the whole idea in general is fantastic. i’m fully expecting a glut of zucchini from my friends and neighbors since i’m garden-less, and this is a magnificent use for them!

Cathy said...

Stuffed zucchini is one of my favorite. Love the filling and the Alfredo sauce. A terrific recipe Paula. I put zucchini on my market shopping list.

Anonymous said...

I looks tasty!!! What sort of chopping knife are you partial too??

noble pig said...

Yeah and the other day was 7-5-9 another event that happens only ever so often.

This would make a great lunch!

Gloria said...

I love stuffed zuchinni and these look delicious! xxGloria

nice recipe!

Pam said...

Oh Paula - it looks so delicious! I can't believe I've never thought to stuff zucchini. Can't wait to try it.

Marjie said...

I loved 7/8/9, too. My kids think I'm just plain weird, but my dearly beloved has learned to just nod and smile. And my kids have trotted out "7 ate 9" plenty of times, too.

I love zucchini. I eat it raw with dressing, or I saute it in butter and pepper. Lots of nice black pepper. I would try this stuffed, but I wouldn't take lots of time to put it on the pretty bed of lettuce for a picture, because you know the hungry horde wouldn't afford me the luxury of time.

Paula said...

Zucchini greetings everyone!

Med Kiwi: I'd love to have some of your bounty. I just have flowers on my zucch plants right now!

Gemma: It was yummy! Thanks for visiting!

Aggie: They would be perfect for a luncheon! Mmm, mmm, good!

Manggy: That Jamie Oliver recipe is more along the lines of my Southern Italian recipes! I like making bad boy recipes! hehe

Grace: It's fun to figure out what to do with all the summer zucch's! Mmm, I wonder what cinnamon laced recipes are out there? :-)

Cathy: The zucchs works so amazingly well stuffed. I want to find more stuffed recipes to try!

Prairierunner: My chopping weapon of choice is the one in the photo; it's a SMALL chef's knife by Analon. The super sharp blade is only about 7 inches, and I use it for everything!

Noble Pig: How's Oregon life going for you? I'm slow on the uptake -- What's the story of 7-5-9?

Gloria: Thanks! It was a yummy dish!

Pam: Thanks! It was so great; I'm going to make it again and again. I want to figure out how to prepare it on the grill next time! :-)

Paula said...

Marjie: Your comment came in while I was typing! Glad that I'm not the only one that likes number anomaly jokes! Come on over, and I'll make this for you and put in on a bed of lettuce, too! Truth be told, the vinaigrette on the salad balanced out the richness of the stuffing! I like raw zucchini, too, and last year, I sauteed the zucch's in butter based on your suggestion and loved it (I usually use olive oil). Let's face it, I'll eat zucchini just about any way! :-)

Lo said...

Oh, dear me.
Zucchini and alfredo. I'm so VERY THERE. Thanks for tempting me, once again, with food that will cling (albeit deliciously) to my hips.

DayPhoto said...

Thank you for this. I will have this in about two weeks, my squash should be ready then.


Cheryl said...

OMG I have never heard of this, what a great light dinner, I can't wait to make it!

Lynda said...

I haven't made stuffed zucchini in a long time- I kinda forgot about it.Yours looks awsome with all of that melted cheese!Yum!

OurCrazyFarm said...

Yum! This looks sooo good! My zucchini is just about ready to pick, and it's a perfect time to try a new recipe!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Good thing I'm wolfing a tuna sandwich right now or I'd be dying! I'm starving. I forgot to eat dinner! That's a new one! These look amazingly delicious. :)

Mickle in NZ said...

How sad to make more Alfredo sauce than needed. You just have to - eat it with something else!

I love zucchini - and so do the dodgy innards. Your recipe is sooo adaptable to suit all sorts of "innards issues".

Roll on Summer, and Mediterrnean Kiwi - would love to eat from your garden.

Paula - at least 2 kiwis commenting? - yep, and Med Kiwi and Mickle went to the same high school (Wellington Girls' College). Med Kiwi (hello dear M) was a year behind me!

Care and huggles, while I go to sleep dreaming of Zucchs,


The Blonde Duck said...

I want to live in your garden like a little food-stealing gnome. I'd be so fat.

At the bbq place, I would have gotten brisket or ribs. Slurp. Beef ribs, not pork.

Pam said...

Well of course it's good, it's good a stick of butter, cream and lots of cheese, that makes anything (even zucchini) good!

Jan said...

Oooh now they look seriously delish!

Jan said...

This looks absolutely yumptious, Paula. Although we eat zucchini, we have never grown it - but we will next year - Mick has had his orders. :-)

Peter M said...

Paula, us Greeks stuff zucchini but never this way...I adore this - YUM!

Ashley said...

This looks delicious! My husband would love it!

Spryte said...

YUM!! That looks amazing!!