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Pesto Stuffed Zucchini

July 19, 2009
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I created this recipe by combining many of my favorite flavors–freshsummer zucchini, fresh garlic, basil pesto, and 2 kinds of cheese. It’s a little work to put it all together, but worth it in the end! Serve this pesto stuffed zucchini as a main course with a side salad. Or serve it as a side dish with Baked Chicken Breasts or Panko Pork Chops. Either way, it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

2 large zucchini
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
2 cups store-bought croutons, garlic and herb flavor (small size croutons)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (the freshly grated cheese really stands out in this dish!)
1 heaping Tablespoon store-bought basil pesto
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse zucchini and cut off both ends.
  • Slice both in half and lengthwise, making 4 pieces from each zucchini.
  • Using a spoon, carefully scoop out inside flesh of each zucchini piece, leaving a 1/4-inch “shell”.
  • Dice zucchini flesh and set aside.
  • Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once rapidly boiling, add salt and zucchini “shells”.
  • Boil “shells” for 2 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and set on paper towel to drain and cool.
  • Add Tablespoon of olive oil to large non-stick saute pan, over med-high heat.
  • Add diced zucchini flesh, diced onion, and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Stirring often, saute 8 minutes, until very soft.
  • Add minced garlic to saute pan and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Remove pan from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes.
  • While mixture is cooling, crush 2 cups of crouton cubes into fine crumbs.
  • Stir pesto into saute mixture until combined.
  • Stir crushed croutons into mixture until combined. (Add olive oil to taste, if mixture seems dry.)
  • Stir mozzarella and Parmesan cheese into mixture until just combined (don’t over mix).
  • Using a spoon, generously scoop mixture evenly into cooked and cooled zucchini “shells”. Gently press mixture into place.
  • Place shells (not touching each other) onto greased cookie sheet and bake uncovered in hot oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve hot.
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