Zucchini...I do use it a lot but mainly in ratatouille and pasta. Thus, I was a bit skeptical about making zucchini the focus of the dish but was very surprised with the results. I think it's the nuts in the filling that helps take this simple dish to a very tasty level :)
And as expected, having successfully experimented on my dear husband, this was also served up at my next dinner party! Have to admit, 1 of the 9 guests did not eat the zucchini but sure did eat all the filling. Guess for some young boys, a vegetable is a vegetable - not to be eaten ;)
4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 green chilli, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (as usual I substituted with pralines)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and Pepper
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a small spoon scoop out the zucchini flesh, leaving a 1/4 or 1/2-inch-thick shell. Wrap the zucchini flesh in a paper towel and squeeze out any excess liquid; discard the liquid and set aside the flesh. Place the zucchini shells cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 15min.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the zucchini flesh, chillies and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 min. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 5 min. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the bread crumbs, and toast the bread crumbs for 2 min. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and oregano, then combine with the vegetables; season with salt and pepper.
Flip the zucchini shells and line the bottom with mozzarella (this prevents the stuffing from falling out). Pack in the filling. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top (have to admit, I put some grated Emmental on top as I had run out of Parmesan). Bake until zucchini is tender when pierced with a fork, 20-25 min.