Tuesday, 5 August 2014

All Stuffing and No Nonsense!

Zucchine Ripiene, Veloce & Leggere
Quick & Light Stuffed Zucchini


Stuffed vegetables are always yummy... zucchini, peppers, eggplants- you name it! Stuffed with meat, or rice, or any other of other fillings- these old-time comfort food dishes are always a pleasure.

So today, I decided to try my hand at making a stuffed zucchini dish, in a quick and light version- with no cheese, very little fat and a short cooking time to keep all the flavors bright and fresh... and yes, I think you may well like it too!


Basically, you have everything you need, all in one dish- you have meat and vegetables, a nice, light sauce and just enough bread crumbs in the filling to soak up all of that flavor and goodness! With some fresh marjoram to make your taste buds tingle- this simple dish becomes a real treat!

The ingredients I used were some mixed ground beef and pork, a good sized zucchini, 1 Spring onion, 9-10 cherry tomatoes, parsley, marjoram and bread crumbs. As far as quantities are concerned... I am going to have to leave that to your better judgement! It all depends how big your zucchini's are I suppose... but we don't want to get too personal now! Haha!

You can see how moist and juicy this is- nice and light, but still, with a little crunch from the top layer of breadcrumbs... I think you are going to enjoy it! I know that I did!

Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the insides using a spoon, then finely dice the interior- we can use that in our filling of course- this is all good food!


Fry the diced zucchini with half of the Spring onion and a sprig or two of marjoram, together with the ground meat, with no added fat, but with a nice grind of pepper and a pinch of salt to season. Th meat has enough fat of its own to cook everything wonderfully- no need for any extra.

As soon as the meat has all turned light brown and has no more raw, red pieces visible, add a good sprinkle of breadcrumbs whilst it is still hot and stir these in well. The breadcrumbs will bind everything together nicely, soak up any juices and all the flavor- and of course at the end, give the baked zucchini a nice added crunch.

Add just enough bread crumbs until you have a nice, soft filling like this. If you accidentally add too many bread crumbs, add just a sprinkle of water so that you have a little extra moisture in there and you will be fine. Make sure not too mash down the filling too firmly for the best results.

Now spoon the filling into the hollowed-out zucchini and pop your little frying pan straight back onto the stove top, ready to make a little tomato sauce! And whilst you are at it- turn on the oven to 200 °C to get it nice and hot and ready!


Pop the other half of the finely chopped onion into your hot pan along with the cherry tomatoes, plenty of finely chopped parsley and a little water- turn the heat right up and get everything bubbling away.


Add about a tablespoon of tomato paste, a little salt and pepper and stir it into the water- it will soon dissolve and give you a base for the cherry tomatoes to cook in.

Soon you will have a very basic, makeshift sauce- but basically, all you need is just a little moisture to add to the zucchini, so that they will steam a little whilst they are in the oven under foil for the first 10-15 minutes.

Spoon the tomatoes and the simple sauce into a baking dish, add the zucchini, cover them with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on their size at 200°C- you want a nice high heat to get a nice build-up of steam under the foil.

After 15 minutes, the zucchini should be almost done... at this point, remove the foil, drizzle everything very lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and return to the oven for 4-5 minutes under the broiler until the filling becomes crisp and brown and the cherry tomatoes shrivel and pop... yum-yum!

Yes it's simple- but yes it's delicious too! Especially with an extra sprinkle of fresh marjoram! So aromatic and so, so good with ground meat and tomatoes!

I would go as far as to say that this is a dish that is pretty enough to serve to guests too- I know that I would be happy to for sure! Especially as it is bound to please as well!

Grab that fork and take a bite!


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