The other day I was craving Italian food, and the first thing that always pops into your head is pasta. I’ve tried to cut back on the pasta a bit because I tend to gain 4 pounds overnight when I fill my face with it. I wondered how I could get that same deliciousness without the extra pounds. Suddenly I remembered seeing a picture of this dish in a magazine while waiting for new tires to be put on on my truck. When I got home, I started scrounging around and found everything I needed, replacing the pasta with beautiful locally grown zucchini from the Farmers Market. It was a hit and will be making a periodic reappearance.
Here is what I did.
4 Italian sausages (sweet or hot)
3 medium zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
salt & pepper to taste
6 basil leaves (torn or diced)
1 ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese (cut in strips) Reserve some for final topping
1 Roma tomato diced for presentation
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Wash zucchini well and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to dig a trench down the center of each zucchini half and place the pulp off to the side to be chopped.
Turn enough olive oil in a pan just to get your sausage started after removing casings.
Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces and brown.
Drain excess fat. Add the chopped zucchini pulp and garlic to the sausage and brown slightly then add the tomato sauce and half of the basil. Remove skillet from the heat.
Place hollowed zucchini boats in a baking dish. Season with salt & pepper. Lay strips of sliced mozzarella cheese in the boats and top with your sausage, zucchini & tomato sauce mixture. Top with bread crumbs and place in a 375’ oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and place remaining Mozzarella cheese on top and bake until cheese has melted. (5 to 8 min)
To serve, add fresh diced tomato, remaining basil and give it a shower of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!