2 medium zucchini squash
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 cup sweet red bell pepper, ½ inch diced
1 cup Crimini (Baby Bella) mushrooms, ½ inch diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or twice that of fresh)
1 teaspoon dried basil (or twice that of fresh)
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ kosher teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated, plus additional grated Parmesan to sprinkle over cooked squash
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a small sheet tray or baking dish with foil or parchment paper.
Trim stem end from squash and cut a small sliver from one long side so the squash will sit flat without rolling. Then cut one third off the top and dice that long cut piece into half-inch dice. Set aside.
Using a small paring knife, cut around inside of squash then using a melon-baller, scoop out inside until the squash resembles a canoe. Try not to cut through to the bottom and leave an edge all the way around about a half-inch thick so it stands up to stuffing and baking.
In a large skillet or frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook two minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, mushrooms and cut up zucchini tops. Mix to combine and sauté two more minutes.
Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and mix in oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, panko crumbs and both grated cheeses.
Divide the filling between each zucchini boat by pressing the filling into each squash over the bowl forming the top in a rounded shape with your hand.
Place onto the prepared dish or pan and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tops.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes uncovered until slightly browned on top. Do not overcook, otherwise the zucchini will start to sag and the filling will not stay in.
As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the tops with additional Parmesan cheese and serve.
Keywords: Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini