Does its size really matter…

One would have to wonder about the above question as it has been debated for years and I guess it all depends on what “it” is. I know for a fact that I would have a difficult time  using giant size utensils to eat my regular meals or, to use a contra example, very, very small ones for the same purpose. I guess we will have to answer this question with, “it all depends on what and the situation”,of course.

Sorry, I have not posted in a while but job searching, fleeing the homestead and hurricane Matthew clean up and repair took precedence.  Most of that silliness is done except for the finding of a job part.  However, on a positive note, it has given me more time to dream about food and think of different flavor combinations and recipes. This particular recipe was one I thought of while cruising the vegetable aisle at my local food store and noticing that the zucchini from the local farmers were HUGE!  Wow! I thought, one of these could feed a small country. Deciding against the idea of feeding a small country because the zucchini would most likely not still be fresh when it arrived , I wanted to do a stuffed version as a dinner. (saves on vegetable pans and clean up you know) I know what you are thinking, “this has been done a million times” but for me it was less about being original and more about doing a great dinner and maybe coming up with a stuffing that could be used in different ways.  This stuffing mixture has already led me to a new idea of stuffing yet another type of cabbage, red. (the final frontier of cabbages for me) Details on this idea are still in the works but will coming shortly to a computer near you.

Without further adieu, the stuffing did turn out, as Borat says, “Very Nice” and I will most likely use it in home-made ravioli or possibly add it to my marinara sauce to make a sort of bolognese for fresh pasta noodles. For now tough, here is the recipe.

Z-Size Matters

(Sausage stuffed zucchini) (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

4 – Zucchini, large, washed and halved on the long axis with the seeds scooped out (kind of zucchini canoes, if you will)

1 lb – Ground Italian sausage, (you would also use the ones with the casing but you would have to take that off before cooking) mild, (to spice it up you could also use hot sausage)

1/3 cup – Sweet onion, chopped

1/3 cup – Mushrooms, fine chopped, I used Baby Bella mushrooms (baby portabellas)

1/3 cup – Green Bell pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup – Red Bell pepper, finely chopped

3 oz – Chopped black olives

1/2 tsp – Kosher salt

1 tsp – Coarse ground black pepper

1 tsp – Red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp – Dried Oregano

1 tbsp – Dried Basil

2 cloves – Garlic, fine chopped

2 tbs (more or less) – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 to 6 ozs – mixed shaved Italian cheeses (this becomes the topping)

Preparation – First, take the sausage and brown in a large skillet over medium heat. When the sausage is done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on the side in a large bowl. Using the rendered fat from the sausage and a little bit of olive oil, bring the skillet back up to low medium temperature and first sauté the garlic (make sure that this does not turn dark brown because it will become bitter), onions, green and red bell peppers. Next, lower the heat and add in the chopped mushrooms, black olives and season the entire mixture with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil. Keep the mixture on the heat until the mushrooms soften and the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and add this to the cooked sausage in the bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Construction Instruction – Arrange your zucchini “boats” in a 9 X 12 baking dish (or one that fits the zucchini so they will not fall over during baking) with the scooped side up. Using a large spoon, stuff each of the zucchini with the mixture. Note: It is okay to mound the mixture, as it does not need to be level with the top of the opening. Once all of the stuffing is in the zucchinis, take the mixed cheeses and lightly cover the top of each. Place in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes where the cheese will slightly brown.

This was served with slices of rosemary/olive oil Italian bread.

Enjoy!

The Well Fed Cyclist

Gary Bechard

 

 

 

 

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