zucchini is one of my favorite summertime vegetables, because its mild flavor is perfect for so many cooking methods and variations. my feelings on zucchini changed after i tried it prepared in countless new ways in italy. i learned that fresh, simple flavors are all that is needed to make the somewhat bland flavor of zucchini sing. this recipe for stuffed zucchini with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella uses classic italian flavors and is a wonderful addition to a summer meal.
start by cutting the end off of two small to medium zucchini. slice them in half lengthwise.
once your zucchini are halved, it is time to make room for tomatoes. using a pointy spoon, gently scrape out some of the seeds. don't worry about getting all of the seeds out because the purpose is just to make some room to stuff them.
once your zucchini are hollowed out, you can drizzle them with olive oil, and place them on a foil lined baking sheet. season the zucchini with salt and pepper before you stuff them.
dice up the tomatoes into small enough pieces that they will fit in the zucchini.
mix them with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and salt and pepper them to your taste.
mix in the chopped basil, and divide the tomato mixture evenly between the four zucchini halves.
bake for 20 minutes until the zucchini is tender, and you can easily pierce it with a fork.
remove the baked zucchini from the oven, and turn your oven to the broil setting. place two thin slices of fresh mozzarella on each zucchini half.
place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts. watch carefully! they can burn very quickly (ask me how i know).
take them out when the cheese is melted and lightly browned. serve immediately, while hot.
stuffed zucchini with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella
recipe source: Martha Stewart
2 medium sized zucchini
2 roma tomatoes
2 tsp chopped basil
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
extra olive oil for drizzling
2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees F. slice the ends of the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise. scrape out some of the seeds to create a space to put the stuffin. place them cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet that has been brushed with olive oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle the halves with olive oil.
2. dice the tomato into small pieces. combine the diced tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. add in the chopped basil, and mix together. divide mixture among the 4 hollowed out zucchini halves.
3. bake zucchini for 20 minutes, until the zucchini can be pierced with a fork pretty easily. take them out of the oven, and change your oven setting to broil. top with thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler for 1 minute or so, until the cheese melts and lightly browns. serve immediately.
- use a fresh mozzarella log that is wrapped dry, if possible. if you are using fresh mozzarella that is stored in water, drain the slices on a paper towel first.
- if your zucchini do not lay cut side up without wobbling, cut a small slice off the rounded bottom (see pic below). this creates a flat surface for the zucchini to sit on. be careful not to cut a big slice, so it remains thick enough when you hollow it out.