Sausage Zucchini Boats
How is your summer going? I hope you are able to stay cool somehow whether it is going on vacation, going to the mall, or eating lots of Popsicles (definitely my favorite way to stay cool! 🙂 It has really been a scorcher so far this summer for us in Arizona. I have had to get up earlier and earlier to try to avoid the heat for my run. Then I dart from light pole to light pole trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. There is just one problem, they make light poles way to skinny!! They just don’t create enough shade. It is a problem in this state, and I am definitely going to have to write my city council about this! 🙂 I’m sorry – I think the heat has gotten to my brain (also evidenced by how many family vacation pictures I have shown you lately). Let’s move on to one of my favorite summer recipes while my brain cools off.
I make zucchini boats quite often in the summer because zucchini is plentiful, and it is one of my most flavorful recipes. The key is to use hot Italian pork sausage. It adds so much to this recipe and by the time you get done adding all of the other ingredients, it isn’t very hot at all – just incredibly yummy!
It isn’t very difficult to hollow out the zucchini and you are going to cover it up with stuff anyway so they don’t have to be perfect. Just make sure you get them about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness so they will get soft when you cook them.
Then you fill the hollowed out zucchinis with the cooked meat and vegetable mixture. I always have a hard time not wanting to just eat the meat sauce before it gets baked into the zucchini because it tastes so good and smells wonderful while it is cooking with all of the garlic, wine, and onions in it. But it is definitely worth the wait!
The zucchini boats would be really good with just the meat sauce in them, but then in the last few minutes of cooking time, cheese is sprinkled on top. I can hardly resist a recipe that has melted cheese, and it just puts this recipe over the top. I love to use Monterrey Jack cheese in place of mozzarella whenever it is called for because I just love the flavor of it, but use whatever cheese you like best.
This recipe makes summer not seem so bad. It doesn’t really help with the heat, but you kind of forget about it while you are eating these. And afterwards you can always have Popcicles or ice cream for dessert! I really think if it is over 110 outside, calories shouldn’t count. Another thing I need to write my city council about! 🙂
Sausage Zucchini Boats
- 4 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 hot Italian pork sausages (casings removed), crumbled
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 Tbsp. white or red wine
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh basil
- 1/4 c Parmesan Romano or Parmesan Asiago cheese, grated or purchased already grated
- 1 ½-2 c Monterrey jack or mozzarella cheese, grated
- Cut 3 of the zucchini in half lengthwise and cut out the middle so the remaining zucchini is approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (save the inside pieces).
- Dice the remaining whole zucchini and the inside pieces you scooped out until you have 2 cups and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add the crumbled sausage and brown on medium heat in a skillet.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add onion to sausage in pan. Saute until almost tender.
- Add the garlic to the sausage and onions, and cook until fragrant, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t brown.
- Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Add the chopped zucchini, tomato, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
- Let the meat mixture cool.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Stuff the zucchinis with the meat mixture.
- Place in casserole dish and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the squash until they are tender, but not soggy.
- Take foil off and add grated jack or mozzarella cheese onto top of each stuffed zucchini.
- Place back in oven, uncovered, for about 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
Recipe by Cook AZ I Do