The zucchini plants are starting to produce in my garden. I’m being drowned in zucchini! Each year I swear I won’t plant as many zucchini as the year before but I do anyway. We’ve already had fried breaded zucchini and I’ve shredded zucchini for bread. I’m dehydrating it so I can add it to soups in the winter and I’ve thought about canning some pickled zucchini. And of course some will go to the food bank. Tonight I’m making Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats for dinner. I love the combination of zucchini and Italian sausage. The dish is a little spicy, a little sweet, and altogether delicious!
First I preheat the oven to 400° then I cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. I’m using one good-size zucchini as it’s just the two of us. If you’re making this dish for 4 use 4 medium zucchini.
Using a spoon I scrape out the seeds and discard them. Then I scoop a little of the flesh and set it aside.
I preheat a skillet and add the olive oil, then the Italian sausage. When the sausage has cooked for a few minutes I add the garlic, onion, and tomatoes. I season with salt and pepper.
While the sausage finishes cooking I start a can of tomato sauce heating over medium heat in a saucepan. I add oregano, basil, garlic powder, and a little sugar to cut the acid of the sauce.
When the sausage mixture is cooked through I spoon it into the zucchini boats which I’ve put in an ovenproof casserole dish.
I spoon the tomato sauce over the sausage mixture.
Then I mix the cheeses, panko breadcrumbs, and parsley then top the zucchini boats with the cheese mixture. I use panko breadcrumbs because I like the crunch but you can use regular breadcrumbs.
The casserole dish goes into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. I want the zucchini to be tender and the cheese melted and golden brown.
I’ll serve the Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats with a salad and crusty bread.
Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
4 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (or you can combine 1/2 lb. each sweet and hot sausage)*If you prefer you can substitute turkey sausage or use hamburger)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
Sugar to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup Parmesan, finely grated
1/2 cup mozzarella, finely shredded
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Pour the olive oil into a pre-heated pan and add the sausage.
- When the sausage has cooked for a couple of minutes add the garlic and onion.
- Add the tomatoes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise.
- Scoop the seeds with a spoon – if the seeds are large, discard.
- Scoop out a little flesh with a spoon and add to sausage mixture.
- Put the zucchini boats in an oven-proof casserole dish.
- Heat the tomato sauce in a medium saucepan on medium heat.
- Add the oregano, basil, sugar, and garlic powder to sauce.
- Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the sausage mixture evenly in the zucchini boats.
- Spoon sauce over each zucchini boat.
- Mix Parmesan, mozzarella, parsley, and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the zucchini boats.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until zucchini is tender and cheese has melted and turned golden brown.