Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Serves 4. Recipe is by Haley Matthews, 12, of Georgia, who drew inspiration from the garden. “This recipe is fun to make and is fun to serve to my family. It is pretty on a plate and is full of color and flavors,” she says.
4 large zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb. ground chicken sausage or ground chicken
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 large egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Scoop the pulp out of the zucchini and discard. Place the zucchini boats on the prepared baking sheets with the scooped-out sides facing up.
3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the red pepper and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 more minutes.
4. In a second pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground meat and sauté, stirring occasionally until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cooked vegetables, rice, egg, ricotta, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
5. Divide the mixture into equal portions and stuff the zucchini boats.
6. In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle mixture over the boats and bake until the zucchini are soft and the cheese is browned, about 30 minutes.