There’s nothing fancy about this dish. There really doesn’t need to be. I have found more often than not, a fantastic dish is one with a few, simple ingredients that almost every single household already has in their pantry. Oh sure, we get brave and try the fancy shmancy dishes. Sometimes they are a huge success. Sometimes they are just okay. But almost always the thought is “Was it really worth it? I’d rather go to a fancy restaurant and have them make that dish.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are times I really want to get in the kitchen and put-together-something-that-has-40-ingredients-and-5-ways-to-cook-it-for-4 hours-only-to-have-it-gobbled-up-in-30-minutes-flat. (BREATHE!!!) Not to mention half of the entire cookware stocked by All-Clad, Kitchenaide, Corningware and Calphalon.
But not often.
Actually, very rarely do I make dishes like that. Again, I like simple, nutritious (mostly!), flavorful dishes my family and friends would eat again and actually want to make themselves. These stuffed zuchs do just that. Holy moly are they packed with simple, flavorful ingredients that make your mouth water and fill your culinary senses.
I’ve lightened this recipe up by using ground turkey breast instead of beef. Plus, I used mostly reduced fat mozzarella with regular. Reduced fat or non fat just doesn’t melt the way regular does. It should ooze and
off the zuchs. Right? Like how I made the word ‘drip’, drip? Regular mozzarella does just that. BA-YUMMO!!!
I’ve made this numerous times because there’s just something about the combination of ground turkey, marinara sauce, zucchini and cheese. Of course, you can use ground beef if you wish. Maybe you don’t want ground turkey because it has that ‘gamey’ taste. I can help you with that.
All you do is brown the ground turkey with a diced shallot and enough cooking sherry (about 2 Tbs.) to get things wet. The liquid will cook out by the time the turkey is browned and that ‘gamey’ taste will be gone.
But back to me making this numerous times. It got to the point where we loved this filling so much, I tried it on its own in a meatloaf like creation. Uh, yeah…major fail. It tasted great, just didn’t present well, especially looking at it. So I highly recommend keeping it in the cute little zuch boats because honestly, it just looks soooooo good!
- 4 medium zucchini (about 2 lbs. worth)
- 1 lb. ground turkey breast
- ½ cup Italian style bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 32 oz jar of Marinara sauce, divided
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a shallow baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Trim the ends of the zuchs and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the centers with a spoon leaving about ¼" shell.
- Chop the pulp and set aside.
- In a large skillet brown the turkey (see body of entry to take the 'gamey' taste away) over medium heat until no longer pink, about 15 - 20 minutes.
- Add zuch pulp, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, ½ cup of marinara sauce and egg. Mix together well.
- Spoon mixture into each zuch boat making sure it's packed in well. It's okay to have a mound forming.
- Place in prepared baking dish and pour remaining marinara sauce over and around zuchs.
- Cover and bake 30 - 35 minutes (or until zuch boats are tender).
- Uncover and sprinkle mozzarella evenly over boats and continue baking uncovered, until cheese melts. About 5 minutes.