|Stuffed Zucchini with Spinach, Tomato, Mushrooms, and Cream...Yummmy Yummmy!|
Recipe by Kaci Goodrich Uipi
Makes 4 halves (serves 2 people for a main course, or 4 people as a side or appetizer)
Tomato, finely rough chopped (Roma or another variety equivalent to that size)-1
Mushrooms, finely rough chopped (Baby Portobellos, White Button, or any variety)-4 or 5
Spinach, finely rough chopped (fresh, or you can use frozen if you have to)-1 handful
Garlic, minced (please only use fresh)-2 or 3 cloves
Heavy Cream-1/4 cup (You do not have to add cream if you don't want!)
Parmesan Cheese, grated-1/4 cup
Bread Crumbs (make your own or use Panko)-1/4 cup
Olive Oil-1 tablespoon
Salt and Black Pepper (I prefer Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper)-to taste
Turn your broiler on high. Fill a medium pot with water and place over high heat. (Season water with a little salt.) Cut zucchini lengthwise. Then using a teaspoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving a little around the edges. (Chop up the flesh and set aside for later.)
Fill a large bowl with ice water. (Yes, you must put actual ice cubes in the water, or it won't work.) When the water in the pot comes to a boil, blanch the empty zucchini halves until bright green in color and a little tender. (Blanching means to par-cook...so only let the zucchini stay in the hot water until it's tender, but still al dente. Then immediately transfer it into the bowl of ice water, and leave it there only for a minute just until it's cold again. Then take a paper towel and pat dry the zucchini.)
In a different (medium-sized) pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms (Don't wash mushrooms under water. Simply wipe off dirt with a dry paper towel.) and cook until mushrooms are tender. Season with a little salt and pepper. Next add the tomatoes, garlic, and chopped zucchini flesh, stirring constantly. Then add the heavy cream. Turn up the heat and let the cream reduce a little to thicken. Add the spinach and cook only till soft and wet. Finally, add most of the cheese, leaving a little extra for the tops. Taste filling and add more salt and pepper to your liking.
Drizzle a little olive oil into the bottom of a rectangle baking dish and coat bottoms of zucchini halves. Then coat with bread crumbs, leaving extra for the tops. Season empty halves with a little salt and pepper. Then fill the insides of the zucchini with the tomato and mushroom mixture. Sprinkle tops with extra Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
Place stuffed zucchini in the oven under the broiler. Cook only for 5 minutes or so (checking every few minutes), just until brown and crispy on the tops. Remove and eat immediately while it's bubbling hot!
Variations: Add cooked rice to the filling; Add fresh parsley, basil or thyme; Use pesto instead of the heavy cream; Serve with marinara sauce.