I received the baseball-bat zucchini below as a ‘gift’ from a co-worker, who is inundated with zucchini these days. I took it with me to #MrWhimGrin’s house last weekend and made the casserole below.
Then, my friend @StephStricklen talked about the 3 ‘toddler-sized’ zucchini she’d been gifted with last night on Twitter. I sent her my recipe in 140c bursts, but thought it needed deeper notarization – a point that #MrWhimGrin agreed with, as both he and his friends (who got the other canoe we made Saturday night) want the recipe as well!
As is usual for me, I’m not going to get proportions accurate here. Go with what sounds good to you! I also believe this was originally inspired by a recipe from one of the Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood cookbooks – which means it would have been vegetarian & probably contained rice, bread cubes/crumbs or other stuff. Finally – yes, it has cheese in it (which will make the Paleo people cry a little inside, I’m sure). Don’t like cheese? Don’t use it then…
One huge zucchini (mine was rather phallic-like, as you can see).The ingredients below made 2 canoes from the right half of said zucchini – use that as a reference when you look at the proportions below.
- red pepper (I used half of one)
- celery (2 ribs)
- sweet onion (half an onion. I’d add more next time around)
- mushrooms (I had dried & then reconstituted shitaakes from Costco. Maybe 8-10 caps?)
- Italian seasonings (I used dried mix I had from home, then supplemented with dried parsley, basil & more oregano from #MrWhimGrin’s spice cabinet ’cause it needed More), salt & pepper.
Add to saute pan with some melted butter and 3/4ths of a package of diced pancetta, stir occasionally while you deal with the zucchini. (I used a package already diced from Trader Joe’s). (I had originally bought a 1/2 lb of bulk sweet italian sausage to use instead, but left that behind when I went over to #MrWhimGrin’s to make said canoes. TJ’s to the rescue!)
I got the insides of the zuke out by first cutting the zuke where the line above indicated. Cut the bottom off too, then cut in half lengthwise. Then grab a paring knife & score around the ends of all four halves of your canoe – go as deep as you can with the knife. For wherever you ended up, then cut down into the inside part of the canoe itself to meet that location (NOT into the side of the canoe itself – you want that intact!), then cut that part of the zucchini out, dice & add to pan. Repeat as needed until your canoe is hollow & has about 1/2 to 1 inch of the zuke part left on it.
After all of the zucchini has been added to saute pan, place your two canoes into a deep-sided baking dish that you’ve oiled with the lubricant of your choice (olive, etc.) & let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes or so. In a big mixing bowl, add:
- 2 eggs, beaten
then mix with the contents of the saute pan (minus some of the excess liquid, which you can either add or discard) and:
- half of a 2-cup package of shredded italian cheese
(mine had asiago and provolone in it. I could see just using parmesan, or a parmesan/asiago mixture – let your own cheese preferences dictate what you use here, though, and adjust seasonings accordingly!)
Stuff the canoes with the mixture, then bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Yes, you will see that a lot of excess liquid around the canoes when you open the oven to check on them. This is: Okay. (Lengthen the cooking time if you think they’re not quite ready, of course.)
When they’re about done to your tastes & have 10 minutes more to go, add
- some more of the shredded cheese (1/4th of the package – sprinkle, don’t cover!) and one diced green onion – tops & all
over the top.
(Or you could add parsley. Or chives. Or more pancetta – whatever floats your boat!)
Remove from oven when this layer of cheese is nicely melted, cool a bit and enjoy!