Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pretending to cook for two

Ah, so difficult to get used to cooking for one (do I even want to?). I knew I didn't need to get two zucchini's when I bought them but getting just one to stuff is so sad. But I think after making the stuffed zucchini I realized I don't like cooking for one. It's boring. I have no one to taste my food other than myself! It's so much easier for me to toss a salad together, or butter some bread, or reheat some frozen ratatouille. Sigh.

Stuffed Zucchini (loosely adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini)

2 round zucchinis
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup of grated cheese
Olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs de provence (or whatever herbs you have)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the tops off the zucchini and core out the inside and reserve the zucchini flesh. Put the zucchini shells and tops into a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. place in the oven for 20 minutes until the shells are soft but not collapsed.

Meanwhile put a pan over medium high heat. Add a count of olive oil and sautee the garlic until fragrant. Add the reserved zucchini flesh and cover with a lid. The zucchini will render a lot of water, so drain periodically. Add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, salt, pepper and herbs and continue cooking the zucchini until soft (about 10 - 15 minutes). Place in a colander either over a bowl or in the sink and let drain.

By now the zucchini shells should be done. Take them out of the oven and place them upside down on a paper towel lined plate. In the same pan as the zucchini flesh, sautee the onion over medium heat in a little olive oil. Add the ground beef, season with salt, pepper and herbs and continue to saute until lightly browned. Add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and stir to combine. Take off heat and add the cooked zucchini flesh. Mix thoroughly.

Stuff the zucchini with the sauteed beef mixture. Put the tops of the zucchini on and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven, take the tops off and divide the cheese evenly on top of the two zucchini. Put the oven to broil and put the zucchinis back into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and is golden brown.

You can also make vegetarian stuffed zucchini...just substitute rice or quinoa or some grain for the meat and use ricotta as a binder.

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