Thursday, 16 October 2014

Stacks of Flavor!

Zucchino Tondo Ripieno al Cartoccio con Peperone, Mozzarella e Mollica
Foil-Baked Stuffed Round Zucchini with Red Pepper, Mozzarella & Bread Crumb Filling


Oh yes, we all love those stuffed pepper and zucchini recipes- me included! But there is more than one way to do it and it needn't be the same old thing every time you prepare them... this evening for example- I had a little time on my hands and decided to have a little fun and try a little something out... and as you can see- it turned out mighty fine as well!


Using simple bread crumbs to bulk-out and stuff the zucchini, as with so many Sicilian and Italian dishes, this was a down-to-earth and sensible supper, inexpensive, tasty and fun at the same time... that's right- my kinda meal!


I used one grapefruit-sized round zucchini, 2 small red peppers, 1 ball of mozzarella, 1 cup of bread crumbs, 2 Spring onions and a good bit of parsley... not much when you look at it that way, right? But the finished result? A more than ample serving for a good and filling meal!


Good, tasty food that is pretty to look at and healthy to enjoy- that is what home-cooking should be about- especially on a week-day night!

Start off by slicing your zucchini nice and thinly and dicing the onion and pepper nice and finely... this makes it quicker and easier for them to cook and ensures that you get a nice, evenly- baked result.


Turn on your oven to get it nice and hot and ready, and start off your little cooking escapade by gently frying the peppers and onion for 2-3 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent.


Then add the bread crumbs and fry for 3-4 minutes more, until they coat all of the onion and pepper pieces nicely and begin to slowly brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper and plenty of nutmeg, so that they become rich and flavorful.


Set to one side to cool and in the meantime, finely dice the mozzarella... by the time you are finished with that- you should be able to get started with putting your little work of art together!


Simply stack the slices back together, starting from the base upwards, adding a good teaspoon of filling and a little mozzarella on each layer. Add a little extra pepper and keep pressing the layers down firmly as you stack them up.


I told you this was fun!


When you are finished, wrap the zucchini up as tightly as you can and give it a good press down... just to get it nicely and securely back into shape.


Open the foil back up, give the zucchini a nice drizzle of olive oil and a last sprinkle of salt, then wrap it up again and pop it into your hot oven, at 180°C for 30-40 minutes.


After that time, it will be nicely cooked and tender- but a little pale looking... time for it to go back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so until it becomes nice and brown...


... a little something like this!

Now- be careful and move swiftly whilst the melted cheese that has seeped out is still soft and does not stick to the foil and lift it onto your serving dish. I did this by using 2 wooden spatulas, sliding them underneath from each end and meeting in the middle... tricky- but doable!


And very, very eatable! As long as you can hold back long enough for it to cool a little so as to not burn your lips!


Layers of lusciousness! ... Need I say more?  ;-) 

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