- 5 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
- 1 pound Maple Leaf Natural sausage meat
- 2 Tablespoon Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs or regular Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, optional
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Garnish: Fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Carefully cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, score the flesh of the zucchini with deep diagonal cuts, about half inch apart, being careful not to cut through the skin of the zucchini. Place the zucchini halves, flesh-side up, on a parchment–lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the zucchini halves in preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes, until the flesh no longer looks spongy and you can easily scoop it out (you can use a fork to check). Leave your oven on, you will need it for the next step.
- Let the zucchini cool for 10 minutes (until cool to the touch) and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, being sure to leave the skin of the zucchini in-tact (the zucchini shells will hold the filling). Put the flesh into a sieve set over a bowl to drain any excess water. Set the zucchini skin aside on the parchment-lined baking sheet while you make your filling.
- Heat a large, deep skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil to the skillet. Add onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage meat and the zucchini flesh and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook the filling until the sausage meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and herbs; stir to combine. Taste your filling and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Carefully spoon the filling into the zucchini skins until all of the filling is used up. Distribute the grated mozzarella evenly over the stuffed zucchini and bake in a 400 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 6 minutes. Serve hot garnished with freshly torn basil leaves, if desired.
- Make-ahead and/or to freeze:
- Prepare the recipe as directed up to above but do not do the final bake. Cover the dish tightly in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours or freeze for up to a month. To bake, thaw the zucchini boats overnight in the refrigerator. Unwrap the casserole dish (both the plastic wrap and the foil) and re-cover with lightly-greased aluminum foil. Bake as directed above: at 400 degrees until heated through, about 6 minutes, removing the foil in the last 10 minutes so that the cheese gets golden brown on top.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins