Stuffed Zucchini, Sicilian Style
I learned this recipe from my husband's Auntie Pina, who lives on the southern coast of Sicily, where they are more creative with zucchini that we can ever imagine. This side dish is just gorgeous.
2 large zucchini, split lengthwise, flesh scooped out, mashed and reserved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 yellow onion, small dice
Small pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 stalks celery, small dice
1/2 cup vegan soy mozzarella, tiny dice
Whole wheat bread crumbs
2 cups tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375o and lightly oil a shallow baking dish that will accommodate the zucchini halves laying side by side.
Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a small skillet over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, saute with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes for 3-4 minutes. In another skillet, place a small amount of oil, celery and mashed zucchini flesh over medium heat. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir in sauteed onion and garlic, season to taste and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in soy cheese. Fold in enough bread crumbs to hold the mixture together as a stuffing (as little as 1/2 cup, as much as 1 cup).
Lay the zucchini halves, cut side up, in the baking dish. Spoon filling abundantly into each half. Spoon tomato sauce generously over top the stuffed zucchini and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.