Ligurian Stuffed Zucchini
I found these round zucchini at the farmer’s market last week and they were the perfect shape for stuffing. I love the idea of stuffed vegetables, but the stuffing is really important, if your stuffing is bland, then your meal is bland, especially with zucchini. They create the perfect shell for stuffing, but don’t contribute a lot of flavor. There needs to be a nice balance of flavor, not too strong, but not to weak either. Meat stuffed tomatoes and zucchini are wonderful, but after two days of sausage, it was time for a vegetarian meal, I need balance in my diet and try to eat meat in serious moderation.
Stuffed vegetables are a big thing in Liguria, you find them in the display cases of alimentari and rosticcerie all along the coast. There are a million ways of stuffing a vegetable, with old bread, rice and in this case potatoes. I used new potatoes for their delicate texture and flavor, I also wanted to mash the skins up with them to add color. Basil and marjoram, which are two herbs that the Ligurian kitchen can’t live with out, play a major role in the flavor of these potatoes. You could add minced garlic, but I choose to skip that so that my flavors wouldn’t be too overpowering.
I had some extra stuffing leftover and used it in tomatoes, which was delicious, you could also stuff peppers and onions with this.
Ligurian Stuffed Zucchini
- 2 lbs potatoes
- 4 globular zucchini, if using long zucchini you will need more than 4
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- pinch of dried marjoram
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 5 oz grated parmigiano reggiano
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
Wash the potatoes thoroughly and fill a pot with water covering them with about 2 inches of water. Bring the water and potatoes to a boil, turn the heat down and allow the potatoes to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt as needed.
Bring another pot of water to a boil. Clean your zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. When the water has started to boil place the zucchini in the water and blanch for 3 minutes. Once they have cooled, carefully scrape out the inner flesh leaving a half-inch shell.
When the potatoes are cooked through, drain the water and mash them while they are still hot. Add the basil and the marjoram mashing them into the potatoes. Stir in the beaten eggs, parmigiano, nutmeg and olive oil creating a consistent stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Oil the bottom of a baking dish.
Stuff the zucchini shells with the potato mix and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes. You can serve them hot from the oven or at room temperature as a side dish or as a main course.