I always check the Agriroad Market in Miwa, Shizuoka City, where they sell products grown by local farmers’ wives and I have a weak spot for those enormous round yellow zucchinis!
Yesterday as I had a little more time than the Missus I prepared dinner and cooked us a stuffed zucchini!
I would have needed both of my hands to circle it completely!
Although it looked plain and seedless, it actually contained many soft large seeds inside.
I scooped all the inside with a sharp spoon first.
Once I had emptied the zucchini of its seeds there was not much left of its flesh which suited me fine as I didn’t want the vegetable to have too thick walls before cooking it.
I chopped whatever was left finely.
I also finely chopped 1/4 of a medium-large onion, 1/4 of a medium-sized carrot and two big cloves of garlic.
I fried the finely chopped vegetables in some olive oil until they had lost most of their water.
I used about 250 g of minced pork and beef mixture, 2 very full teaspoons of freshly grated parmegiano cheese and plenty of fresh basil leaves from my balcony.
I first thoroughly mixed the meat with the vegetables and cheese seasoned with coarsely ground pepper and hot spices. No need for salt as there was enough in the cheese (and the bacon later!). Mind you, this is where you can play with spices, herbes and salt according to your preferences!
I first lined the whole inside of the zucchini with soft bacon.
I lined the bottom half with basil leaves.
I stuffed the bottom half with the meat filling and lined the top half of the zucchini with more basil leaves.
I finally filled the zucchini with the rest of the meat.
I tapped the meat until I was sure there was no air pockets inside.
I topped it with its “hat”, sprinkled olive oil all over it and baked it in the oven first for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
That is how it came out first. The meat was still raw inside.
Next I put it back with the hat off for 15 more minutes into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
Only then it was properly cooked and ready to be eaten!
This two-step method will insure that whole is properly cooked but full of juices!
We had enough for our main dish for two last night!
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