Brown the sausage and add onion and chopped zucchini trimmings and other ingredients and cook just a few minutes. Stir in bread crumbs and spoon filling into zucchini shells and bake.
Sound easy? It is. There is some preparation, but it's not too time consuming. I haven't veered far from Emeril's recipe, just made some minor changes. He salted each zucchini half and laid it upside down on paper towels while preparing the filling. I did the same the first time through the recipe, but couldn't tell much difference really. So that's up to you. I added some mushrooms the second time through, which were very yummy, but not necessary, if you don't want to use them. I didn't use oil to cook the sausage as it really didn't need it. And, I didn't use Gruyere cheese, as I couldn't find any at the store. Let's make these delicious Stuffed Zucchini!
STUFFED ZUCCHINI (adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse)
8 small zucchini, about 7-8 inches long
6 ounces sausage, such as lamb, or mild pork sausage- I used mild Italian Sausage
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, if desired- this is my addition
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. freshly chopped basil
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese for topping (recipe also calls for Gruyere)
Lay the zucchini on a cutting board and cut in half length wise. Using a melon baller, scoop out the flesh of the zucchini leaving a shell that is about 1/4 inch thick. Salt each zucchini half and lay cut side down on some paper towels while you are preparing the filling. This is optional, but I think it made the zucchini a little more tender. Dice the trimmings and reserve.
In a large skillet, brown the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add onion and reserved zucchini and mushrooms, tomato and garlic and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Do not over cook the filling or it will be mushy. Remove pan from heat. Add the fresh herbs and about 2 1/2 T. of the dried bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Brush or rub each zucchini half with olive oil, as this keeps the zucchini from drying out. Spoon the cooled filling into each zucchini boat. Sprinkle with the cheese. Top with remaining bread crumbs, if desired. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy on top. Enjoy!
Now, I think this is a main dish, whereas, my husband calls it a side dish. What do you think?