1 Over sized (preferably 12” x 4 ½”) cut into 3 ½’ rounds, OR
2 * Medium, round zucchini, cored
2 Links, Johnsonville Hot Italian sausage casing removed
½ cup Chopped Japanese eggplant (optional)
½ Medium onion, diced
4 Button mushrooms, chopped
1T Olive oil
1 8oz can Tomato sauce
1 cup Cooked rice
3 cloves garlic, crushed & chopped
1 cup Sargento Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Crosscut the butt end (the biggest end) of the zucchini into sections approximately 3 ½”, core out the center leaving ½” rim. Chop the portion removed and set aside.
Steam the zucchini shells in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes on high, making certain they are not overcooked. You will need to retain the integrity of the zucchini shell to hold the stuffing without collapsing. Immediately plunge them into an ice water bath to stop further cooking.
In a medium skillet, cook the sausage on med-high breaking the sausage into small chunks. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Using the same skillet, add the olive oil, the onions, garlic, ½ cup of the chopped zucchini, mushrooms and (optional) eggplant, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the zucchini and onions are pale. Add the tomato sauce and any additional zucchini you feel will balance out the mix, cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Empty the ingredients of the skillet into the bowl containing the cooked sausage, blend into this mix the cooked rice, half the cheese and fold all the ingredients thoroughly to complete the stuffing mix. The heat of the stuffing mixture should be adequate to melt the cheese as it is being incorporated.
Place the empty zucchini shells in a casserole dish or suitable high-sided container. Fill the shells with the mixture, tamping down lightly to fill each shell to the top. Place in the oven to cook for about 20-30 minutes. Open the oven door and check the temperature of the filling by simply touching the top and if it is warm, now is the time to add the remainder of the cheese to the top of the filling. Return the casserole to the oven for an additional few minutes and closely observe how the cheese is melting. Caution should be taken to prevent the cheese from scorching.
When the zucchini is cooked to your satisfaction, remove from the oven, place on a rack and let rest for 4 or 5 minutes. Serve by removing the stuffed zucchini from the pan with the aid of a flat blade utensil.
Serve with chunks of fresh baguette, green salad of hearts of romaine, slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato.
• Round zucchini can often be found in an Asian market or markets such as Whole Foods as well as some Farmers markets during the summer months. If you choose to use a round zucchini, cut off the top and core per recipe instructions keeping in mind to have a flat bottom to maintain balance after stuffing.
* This filling mix is also great as stuffing for bell peppers.
As always, thank you for visiting.