Browsing farmer’s markets looking for less common ingredients to experiment with is a great pastime. When I discovered this charming squash, a zucchine tonde, I couldn’t wait to get back to my kitchen. The word tondo means round, and these certainly are.
Apparently, round zucchini have been popular in Europe for years. The Italians have their dark green Tondo di Piacenza, the French have the light green speckled Ronde de Nice, the Dutch have the “Roly Poly” (a loose translation from Burpee’s marketers) and the British have their single serve striped marrow, Tender and True. There is even a Chinese produced seed of an almost white round zucchini. Recently introduced in the U.S., we have the Eight Ball, Geode and Floridor.
Ideally suited for stuffing, this little guy was turned into an extremely delicious ricetta di magro (meatless dish)!
Zucchine Ripiene (stuffed zucchini)
1 round zucchini
½ sweet white onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
½ teaspoon butter
12 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup marinara sauce
cheese curds in seasoned oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Over medium heat, sauté onions in 1 teaspoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon butter and minced garlic. Wash and chop 10 button mushrooms, add to pan once onions are translucent.
Meanwhile, wash the zucchini. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and gently boil the whole zucchini for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced.
Once sautéed vegetables are tender, transfer the onion/mushroom mixture into a shallow bowl. Toss gently with paprika, ground red pepper (or flakes) and salt to taste. Gently stir in ¼ cup marinara sauce.
Remove the zucchini from the boiling water, cut off the top and let cool a few moments. Scoop out the zucchini pulp and add it to the onion mixture.
Stir in cheese curds (or feta). Fill the hollowed out zucchini to the top. Put the zucchini top back on and bake 15 minutes. Remove the zucchini top and the contents brown slightly.
To serve, cut the zucchini into vertical wedges and plate. Spoon vegetable mixture over each wedge.
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