Zucchini Overload? Try This Westport Farmers’ Market Recipe for Stuffed Zucchini

Lynn Felici-Gallant

A guy walks into a doctor’s office with a zucchini in one ear, a cucumber in the other, and a carrot stuck in his nostril. The man says, “Doc, this is awful. What’s wrong with me?” The doctor sits him down and says, “First of all, you need to start eating sensibly.”

To many at this time of year, zucchini is no laughing matter. In fact, this fruit of summer is so abundant some dare say they are sick of it. The good news is twofold: firstly, an abundance of any fruit in the Curcubita pepo family (which includes zucchini, summer squash, pumpkin, and cucumbers) is a sign of healthy bee pollination. While zucchini is easy to grow, it depends on plentiful bee activity for an abundant crop (or dedicated farmers who hand-pollinate). Assuming your favorite growers at the Westport Farmers’ Market haven’t been pollinating by hand, a bountiful crop of this summer staple means bees are happy. And when bees are happy. . . 

Secondly, there is no shortage of culinary uses for zucchini. Fortunately for cooks in Fairfield County, Elise Meyer – travel and food writer – is a regular shopper at the Westport Farmers’ Market and contributor to the WFM recipe blog. Her recipe for Stuffed Round Zucchini, below, will make us forget we ever lamented overproduction (note you might want to wait for a cool day to try it, as it does require the oven).

Zucchini isn’t the only fruit you’ll find this week at the WFM, of course. Our farmers and makers’ booths are brimming with summer produce and products. Be sure to stop by and show your appreciation for their hard work, particularly during this year’s heat. 

Events on tap include a weekly chef demonstration – Bar Taco brings their culinary creativity to market Thursday beginning at 10:15. Cameron plays music to shop by, and the featured not-for-profit is the Westport Historical Society. Get Growing – Westport’s own children’s activity – is sponsored this week by the Westport Library. See you this and every Thursday from 10 to 2 at 50 Imperial Avenue (next to the river, where you’ll find a nice breeze). 

Stuffed Round Zucchini  

Serves 8

• 4 round zucchini (size of 8-ball)
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• 2 red onions
• 2 peppers of your choice
• 4 cloves garlic
• fresh herbs as desired (parsley, basil, oregano)
• 1 large leek or a couple of scallions
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
• ½ cup bread crumbs or rice
• 1 cup fresh goat cheese
• ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 cups tomato or marinara sauce

1. Heat oven to 350 F.
2. Halve the squash and carefully scrape out the insides, leaving a shell of about ¼ inch all around. Chop up the remaining flesh and reserve.
3. Arrange the shells in a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake about 45 minutes to soften.
4. Dice onions, peppers, garlic, herbs, and leek and sauté in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add in reserved zucchini and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms give up their liquid. Stir in the bread crumbs or rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Stir in the goat cheese and set aside.
6. When zucchini shells are soft, remove from oven, and stuff with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the tops with parmesan cheese, and drizzle the tomato sauce around the squash.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Contributed by Elise Meyer http://www.muchadoaboutstuffing.com/2012/07/stuffed-round-zucchini-great-meatless.html

Joke adapted from http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/foodjokes/zucchinijokes.html