Prep 1 hr 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
I developed this recipe this summer when the local produce man had orange and grapefruit sized round zucchini for sale. I've made it since, using regular zucchini. If you leave out the sausage it would be a good vegetarian dish. The leftover sauce is wonderful over pasta. Enjoy this with some good garlic bread and a salad! This can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, then popped in the oven when it's time for dinner. Recipe doubles easily.
- 4 orange-sized round zucchini or 2 large regular zucchini
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1⁄2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1⁄2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 4 links Italian sausage
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 3⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1⁄2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- penne pasta or pasta, of your choice
- Prepare zucchini by scooping out the insides, leaving a 1/4 inch shell.
- If using round zucchini, cut a thin slice off the bottom so they won't roll and cut off the top 1/3 of zucchini, removing the stem and saving the remaining top.
- If using regular zucchini, trim the stem end and bottom end and cut in half, then scoop out the center.
- Dice the inside of the zucchinis (and top part from round zucchini if using them).
- Saute' onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until wilted but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add both peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini insides (and top) and saute' for about 10 minutes more.
- Remove sausage from its casings and brown over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, breaking the sausage into small pieces while it cooks.
- When it is done, I like to drain it in a colander and run hot water over it to remove as much grease as possible.
- Add sausage to saute'd vegetable mixture along with 2 T of the basil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Stuff zucchini with about half of the vegetable/sausage mixture and place in prepared pan.
- Add tomato sauce to remaining vegetable/sausage mixture, along with the oregano and remaining basil and simmer over medium to low heat for 30 minutes.
- Top each zucchini with about 1/2 C of the sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
- Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain.
- When zucchini are done, top with an additional sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, arrange on a plate with a portion of pasta and sauce and serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
This was absolutely delicious! The taste was spicy because I used half hot Italian sausage and half mild. I did not add any salt as the sausage and the cheese added plenty and I used "No Salt Added" tomato sauce. I will make a double batch of the vegetable/sauce mixture next time because it was so good. It was a little time consuming to make, but well worth it and there was time during the baking to clean up the preparation dishes. I chose to serve warm sliced sourdough bread rather than garlic bread. I was afraid it would be too much and would take away from the dish. The smell of it cooking in the oven permeated the house and smelled heavenly! Worth waiting for!