Thursday, July 19, 2012

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

This week on "You Know You're Old When":

You know you're old when you ask for a vacuum cleaner for your birthday. You know you're old when you are excited that you get a beautiful Dyson Ball. You know you're old when you're happy after you've spent an evening putting said vacuum cleaner together and giving it a test run around the apartment.

I almost took a picture of the amount of dirt and hair picked up from around my apartment by the super-vac, but then I thought I probably shouldn't disgust you before I showed some yummy food. I'm not kidding you, it was grrrroooosss! I've known that my old vacuum has been pushing my hair into piles that I get to pick up by hand for a while now, but I didn't quite realize the suck-y sucking power. So, now my apartment (the floor, at least) is clean and beautiful.

Come on over.

I'll make you dinner.

How does stuffed zucchini sound?

It is summer squash time (at the stores and at the farmer's market) and I'm loving it. I could (and do) eat zucchini and yellow squash plain, dipped in ranch dressing, sauteed, stir fried, baked, etc. And certainly, when I find a big zucchini, I can't resist hollowing it out and stuffing it with delicious goodness. Here, I used sweet Italian sausage, green peppers, and tomato sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese. However, as with so many of my recipes, feel free to get creative and do what you like. The zucchini is your canvas for our culinary art.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
1 large zucchini, cut in half
1/4 lb Italian sausage (mild or spicy depending on your taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/8 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Hollow out the zucchini halves using a small pairing knife and spoon to remove the seeds and some of the flesh. Chop up about 1/3 of the zucchini "insides" for stuffing.

Cook the sausage over med heat in a skillet, approximately 3-4 minutes breaking into pieces. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the meat is completely browned, about 3-4 minutes more. Add the green pepper, seasonings and tomato paste and mix completely. Add the tomato sauce and heat approximately 2 minutes. Add the zucchini insides to the pan.

Place the hallowed zucchini halves in a baking dish. Scoop the sausage mixture into the halves (it is okay if they mound over the edges a bit). Sprinkle each half with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until everything is hot and the zucchini is slightly soft.

Serves 1-2 (depending on your appetite and the size of your "large" zucchini!)

P.S. If you come over for dinner, please don't spill this on the carpet. My new vacuum is great, but I'm not sure it would pick up tomato sauce stains.

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