[gardeners] huge zucchini

Margaret Lauterbach (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sun, 30 Aug 1998 14:10:29 -0600

Sooner or later, everyone who grows zucchini overlooks one, and by the time
it's found, it's thigh-sized.  There is a good way to use these monsters,
so I'll include 
recipe (and fervently hope this isn't off topic for the list).

spaghetti sauce, about 1 pint		2 oz. finely chopped prosciutto or ham
large zucchini			1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs (French or Italian bread)
olive oil				about 1/2 cup freshly grated good parmesan cheese (or Asiago)
1/2 cup chopped onions		1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic		ca. 1 teaspoon salt
about 1 lb. lean ground beef		about 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scoop out most of the pulp,
leaving about 3/4" on bottom and around outside.  Sometimes, but not
always, I've parboiled this "boat" for a few minutes.  Chop the pulp (and
seeds).  Then heat olive oil in a large skillet, add 1/2 cup chopped
onions, and when they're soft and transparent, add the chopped pulp and 1/2
teaspoon minced garlic and cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.
Scrape all into a sieve balanced on a bowl, so that all can drain.   Then
brown lean ground beef in a bit of olive oil (I use about 1 lb. of ground
beef for a large zucch), stirring thoroughly so there are no lumps.  Then
drain the browned beef in a sieve over another mixing bowl.  Combine beef,
onions, pulp and garlic in a large mixing bowl and add a beaten egg, 1/2
cup fresh bread crumbs, two ounces finely chopped prosciutto or ham, 1/2 to
1 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  

Spoon this stuffing into the zucchini shells, mounding the filling, then
top with freshly grated good parmesan cheese (at least 1/2 cup) and drizzle
with olive oil.  Pour spaghetti sauce (homemade or purchased) into the
bottom of a large ovenproof pan (a turkey roaster works fine), set the
shells on the sauce, and cover top tightly with aluminum foil or the lid of
the roaster.  Start on top of the stove, then transfer to the middle of the
oven and bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, removing foil halfway
through so the top can brown slightly, or until the outside shell of the
boat is fork tender.  To serve, cut into serving portions about 2 inches
wide, cutting across the boat's narrow width, and spoon spaghetti sauce
over the top.  These serving portions with sauce added can be wrapped in
foil and frozen.  

I think this would also work with other large summer squash such as
oversized pattypans.  This dish is so tasty I have been known to
deliberately avoid picking a large zucchini so I could prepare this dish.