Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini is a great way to use up those extra large zucchini from the garden. Stuff with Italian sausage, onions, garlic, tomato, and fresh breadcrumbs, and bake!
Ingredients

Main Course
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, out of casing
  • 1 large zucchini, 12 to 14 inches long (about 1 1/4 to 2 lbs) or 3-4 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of bread, pulsed in food processor or blender to make fresh breadcrumbs (about 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (less or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed or whole tomatoes, including the juice, or 1 3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions
  • Cook the sausage: Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet on medium to medium high heat. Add the sausage, and gently cook until the sausage is mostly (but not all) cooked through. Stir frequently and break up the sausage into smaller pieces while it cooks. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
  •  Prep the zucchini: Cut the zucchini in half. Use a metal spoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini, leaving the zucchini shell about 1/4-inch thick. Remove any thick seeds from the insides you've scooped out. Chop up about half of the remaining zucchini flesh (you should have about a cup).
  •  Cook the onions and garlic: You should have 1 Tbsp of fat in the pan (rendered from the sausage). If not, add more olive oil so that you have at least a tablespoon of fat in the pan. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add the chopped zucchini and cook a minute or two more. Add to the bowl of sausage.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Make the stuffing: Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients to the sausage and onions.
  • Stuff the zucchini and bake: Place the zucchini halves in a baking dish. Stuff them with the stuffing. (At this point you can make ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.) Add 1/4-inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.

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