Mediterranean Zucchini Recipe

Updated on May 16, 2018
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Penelope has lived the Italian country life for decades learning from local people about their lands and produce and how to survive and cook

Stuffed Zucchini with Anchovies in Tomato and Wine Sauce
Stuffed Zucchini with Anchovies in Tomato and Wine Sauce | Source

Stuffed Zucchini

4.3 stars from 16 ratings of Stuffed Zucchini

It's the garden fresh ingredients of this stuffed zucchini/courgettes recipe, flavored with a touch of anchovy from the sea and a dash of white wine, which makes it taste like Mediterranean cooking.

Add to this a touch of culinary expertise and these simple foods are transformed into an easy, summery European meal or party-plate for any season (even on a buffet table at Christmas)—in any part of the world.

My article offers tips on how to prepare all the ingredients for this Mediterranean recipe the Italian way—so you'll feel the sun when you see it and when you taste it. (There is a quick recipe for how to make a pasta sauce with the pulp at the end of this article.)

If you aren't an anchovy sort of person, then you can happily change the anchovy ingredient to tuna fish. You could use freshly chopped parsley instead of fennel or dill if you prefer. It's a truly simple Mediterranean dish and improvising is the name of the game. (It makes a great meatless meal!)

If you don't have wine in the house, then use water instead. In fact, if you use the tuna fish/parsley combination, water may even be better, because the stuffing flavors are milder too.

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Serves three main course meals or six appetizers

Ingredients

  • 6 zucchini, medium sized, straight, darker green
  • 3-4 slices white bread, soaked in water, squeeze dried
  • 1 large tablespoon extra virgin oilive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dill flowers/ seeds or fennel flower/seeds, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, black or white
  • 1 small can anchovies, in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1/2 tube tomato puree/paste, generous 1/2 tube
  • pinch salt, small
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, black or white
  • 1/2 cup white wine, dry

Instructions

  1. Scoop out zucchini with a zucchini corer or an apple corer.
  2. Mash the anchovies in a small dish.
  3. Mix the bread mixture together with the extra virgin olive oil, chopped dill, pepper and the anchovies.
  4. Fill the zucchini with this stuffing.
  5. Put the oven on at 375° F.
  6. Brown garlic in the extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Add tomato puree, pinch salt (or not), pepper and white wine.
  8. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Pour sauce over the bottom of a baking dish.
  10. Place the zucchini in this sauce and bake, covered, in the oven.
  11. Turn the zucchini over half way through baking time
  12. They are ready when tender to the touch - (you may remove the cover about ten minutes before time, if you like).
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Zucchini  straight from the garden
Zucchini straight from the garden | Source
Zucchinis all fit in the dish with the tomato, wine sauce. They're ready to be baked.
Zucchinis all fit in the dish with the tomato, wine sauce. They're ready to be baked. | Source

Tips for Using Garlic

Sometimes there is a shoot growing inside the cloves of garlic. This means the garlic isn't too fresh. That's fine, as long as you remove the little shoot. It's harder to digest, people say it causes bad breath and in Italy they say it gives you heartburn.

Cut the garlic open in two and simply take it out with a small paring knife.

Try the zucchini out for size before cooking.
Try the zucchini out for size before cooking. | Source

Tips for Buying and Storing Zucchini

The zucchinis (also known as courgettes in many countries) have to be very fresh because if not they will be bendy and difficult to core. When purchasing them at an open market ask how fresh they are, or, if you buy them at a supermarket, look at the packing date on the label. Avoid buying them if picked more than two or maximum three days prior.

The zucchini can't be too small or too big. Remember the size of your baking dish.

They have to be very straight—because coring a bent one will be impossible!

If you aren't going to cook with the zucchini the same day, take them out of their plastic packaging. The plastic will make them sweat and the hardness will go.

If you won't be using them the same day, then you could keep them out of the refrigerator and out of their packaging for a day or two in a cool place. This way they retain their natural freshness and firmness.

Before making this recipe, top and tail the zucchini and try them out for size in your baking dish to make sure that they will fit.

Fennel Flowers

Fennel Flowers
Fennel Flowers | Source

Dill Flowers or Seeds

Not everyone has a field of wild fennel growing outside their house as we do here in Tuscany, (we even have olive trees to produce the extra virgin olive oil used here), so if you don't, then fennel seeds or dill are just as good for this recipe. If you don't happen to have it in your cooking cupboards, then use freshly chopped parsley!

But if you happen to be out walking in late Summer, in September, you might see wild fennel growing in the hedgerows. It's a common plant. The yellow flowers are delicious, so you can pick them and scrape them off their stems and keep them in a jar with some salt for the winter.

I used both the flowers and some seeds, because there is more density of flavor in the seeds.

Tips for Serving

Stuffed zucchini look best served from their own baking dish. A handsome looking Mediterranean meal looks at home in a rustic terra cotta dish—or white porcelain. A Pyrex dish is nice too and would improve 'ethnically' if you placed it on the serving table on a straw or a cork mat or a Spanish looking, Indian, or French place mat, something that says "I'm from Europe!"

Even if you don't yet have a super serving dish, it's still best not to move the stuffed zucchini from their baking dish because the tomato sauce has condensed beneath them—you would lose a lot of it transferring onto another dish.

If you like this recipe, please rate it! Thanks.

Pasta Sauce with Zucchini Pulp

The zucchini pulp that you cored-out makes a simple pasta sauce. Nothing goes to waste. You can throw it together in the time it takes the pasta water come to the boil.

  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil (for the pasta).
  2. Pour a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a sauce pan.
  3. Brown a clove of garlic (cored and cut into four).
  4. Add the zucchini pulp and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover.
  5. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, till the zucchini has all softened.
  6. Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes, mix it in and cook for another five minutes.
  7. Put your pasta on to boil - a short type of pasta such as penne would be ideally suited.
  8. Drain it (aldente) and mix with the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle some Parmesan over it.

Buon appetito!

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Penelope Hart

    Comments

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      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        4 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Wow! Thanks for your comment and social network clicks! Appreciate it.

        Hope you really enjoy this dish. In Italy zucchini are in season so it's the perfect time to make this dish!

      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 

        4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

        You have opened my eyes. This is a new recipe idea to me. I like the completeness of this hub, i.e. including info about pasta, garlic and what to do with the carved out zucchini pulp. Voted up, U, I, Tweet, Pin and sharing.

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Home grown zucchini Susan! How delicious. You will enjoy this recipe, I know you will.

        Glad you like the pictures Writer Fox. I really enjoy getting into taking them when I'm preparing food.

        It's much more Mediterranean Bobbi and hope you will enjoy the difference.

        moonlake, I appreciate your vote. Glad you'll enjoy the recipe with your home grown produce.

        Thanks everyone for commenting. I do appreciate it. Penelope

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 

        5 years ago from America

        Looks good and sounds delicious. I always have so much zucchini in the summer. Voted up.

      • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

        PurvisBobbi44 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Hi,

        This sound delicious and is very different from any recipe I have used with Zucchini. I mainly cook mine with Summer Yellow Squash with bacon bits and oinions.

        Thanks for sharing.

        Bobbi Purvis

      • Writer Fox profile image

        Writer Fox 

        5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

        Wow! I love your detailed instructions and all the great pictures.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image

        Susan Zutautas 

        5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        This looks great! I'm planting zucchini's this year so I'll pin your recipe so that I can make it later in the summer.

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Thanks!

      • jellygator profile image

        jellygator 

        5 years ago from USA

        Looks yummy!

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        It will taste delicious, promise! Let me know. Thanks for comments!

      • Dontei profile image

        Michael 

        5 years ago

        Wow, It certainly looks really good. I can only hope it will taste that good as well when I give cooking it a try! I really enjoyed how you illustrated each step with pictures. Thanks for the great recipe.

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Hope you really enjoyed it carol7777. The ingredients are full of taste and very balanced - moist too. Thanks.

        ThompsonPen Thanks so much for putting this recipe up on Pinterest! I hope you LOVE it. (It is delicious, really) Thanks so much for your really great comment (sorry you were hungry when you read it!)

        2patricia. Hope your husband like this as much as lasagne! It's different. Thanks for indexing and hope you come back to try it time and time again. Thanks for dropping by.

      • 2patricias profile image

        2patricias 

        5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

        This looks delicious. I'm always looking for other ways to cook lasagne. My husband loves Italian food, so this may get tested in my kitchen.

        Meanwhile, I am adding this to my Recipe Index for HubPages (under Courgettes).

      • ThompsonPen profile image

        Nicola Thompson 

        5 years ago from Bellingham, WA

        I actually came across this on the Hub Hopper and had to come back so I could comment on it. This looks soooooo delicious! I am of course extremely hungry at the moment, but I cannot wait to try this out. Well done on this hub, and thanks for giving such a creatively delicious idea. I love zucchini, but I often don't know what to do with it.

        Also, I am excitedly putting this up on Pintrest :)

      • carol7777 profile image

        carol stanley 

        5 years ago from Arizona

        This is a most interesting vegetable dish. I like the way it looks and all the ingredients. Gotta try it.

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        B. Leekley. Well thank you so much for your wonderful votes and sharing. You could even make this dish when you find those zucchini any time of the year. Hope you really enjoy it.

        cvanthul. If you don't want to use the fish, perhaps a little chopped tomato, or even finely chopped bacon could do the trick! Glad you love the recipe, it's so tasty.

      • cvanthul profile image

        Cristina Vanthul 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Love this recipe, though I'm not a fish fan at all, but I'm sure there are many other ingredients that can be used instead. Thanks for sharing this and all the useful information within the hub.

      • B. Leekley profile image

        Brian Leekley 

        5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

        Sounds very good. 10-10-10. Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared. Hub is very well written and designed. If I ever get into cooking, one of these summers I'll try this recipe. I hope someone serves it at a church potluck.

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        jimmythejock. It really is easy and so is the pasta sauce! Hope you love it.

        wilderness. It's just as good with tuna so you and your wife have a great meal.

      • wilderness profile image

        Dan Harmon 

        5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

        I'm with Natashalh - anchovies are my bag of tea. Might try it with tuna, though, as my wife and I both like tuna.

      • jimmythejock profile image

        James Paterson 

        5 years ago from Scotland

        Love it, but have never tried it stuffed something new for my family to try and you make it look so easy. thanks Goodlady....jimmy

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        Tuna I like. I just had a tuna sandwich for lunch!

      • GoodLady profile imageAUTHOR

        Penelope Hart 

        5 years ago from Rome, Italy

        Yes!!! You can!! How are you with tuna fish? Tuna and parsley is just as delicious. (Same quantities). Maybe I should write that into the Hub.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 

        5 years ago from Hawaii

        I love zucchini , I'm just not really sold on anchovies. I love the idea of coring and stuffing zucchini, though. I wonder if I could modify this to have something other than anchovies. Hmmmm....

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