These zucchini boats came recommended by a friend, who recently cooked them for her family. This was definitely one of those recipes that I wasn’t too sure about. I figured we would make them, they would be okay, and that would be that. They’d be a nice healthier meal, but nothing great. Obviously, since you’re seeing them here, we actually really liked them! The filling was something I knew we’d would enjoy. I mean, how can you go wrong with sausage, peppers, onions and sauce, not to mention some melty, gooey mozzarella? It was the zucchini aspect that we weren’t so sure about. I don’t mind zucchini in small doses, but eating an entire zucchini sounded a little daunting (the one exception to this is baked zucchini chips; I could eat those all day). Daren likes zucchini even less, but being the good sport that he is, said he would gladly try them. Well, he cleaned his plate, so I guess they were a hit!
- 2-3 medium zucchini
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 an onion (I used sweet onion), diced
- 1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6-7 ounces hot Italian sausage, removed from casing (you could also use chicken sausage)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- shredded mozzarella (part-skim is fine)
- grated Parmesan
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. Dice the scooped-out flesh and set aside (I only used half). Drop the zucchini halves in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Place the zucchini halves on top of the sauce, cut side up.
In a skillet set over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. When no pink pieces remain, remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the oil to the skillet along with the onions and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir in the remainder of the tomato sauce along with the oregano. Cook a few more minutes, until warmed through.
Spoon the sausage mixture into the zucchini boats. Top with a little grated Parmesan and some shredded mozzarella. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese has browned, about 10 more minutes.