Try as you might to limit the size of your home-grown zucchini, rare is the person whose fruits never get away from them. You go away for a day or two, and when you return home, you find that little zucchini that was too small to pick on Thursday or Friday has grown into a monster by Sunday night. Instead of slicing it into manageable rounds to saute for a side with your protein, you begin to imagine other uses for the beast. A club perhaps? Or, you may be tempted to leave it on your neighbor’s doorstep, or in a stranger’s car.
Cottonwood Extension District Horticulture Agent Rip Winkel advises that extra large zucchini is still good to eat. In fact, the size makes it perfect for stuffing. He shared with the Tribune how he turns a monster into a meal.
First, he said, you slice it in half lengthwise, and remove and discard the seeds. Then, scrape out some of the white flesh until it resembles a boat. Set the flesh aside, and paint each half of the zucchini with olive oil and set them in a baking dish with a little bit of water and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until it feels soft when you poke it gently with a fork. Pull them out and set them aside.
“In the meantime, you saute onions with garlic, you cook some Italian spicy sausage, and you cut up mushrooms, olives, swiss chard, green peppers, mixing them all together,” he said. Add the flesh from the zucchini and some rice hold everything together.
“Spread the inside of each boat with marinara,” he said. “Then, take your mixture and mound it in the boat, and cover it with a layer of mozzarella, and pop it back in the oven at 350F until it’s golden brown-- and voila! You’ve got a big, huge stuffed zucchini, and it is delicious!”