I spent years ignoring, belittling and criticising Lidl. Then one day I walked in. I was in Madrid, and someone had told me that they were selling Italian products. Skeptical, I went to check and.. well, suffice to say that Lidl is now the one go-to supermarket that has real mortadella all year long, the best frozen duck breast I’ve ever eaten and Pandoro when the Christmas season arrives. And these cute little zucchine, that look at you when you walk by and say “come on Marghe, I’m perfect…please buy me!”
I always do.
Then I take them home and stuff them.
Of course, I forgot an ingredient in the above photo.
First thing you do is wash the zucchine. Then, gently, cut the top off (just a wee little hat will do) – don’t throw those cute little tops! – and empty the vegetable of its pulp. Use a spoon and be extra gentle – you really don’t want to pierce the skin. Leave about 1.5cm of pulp on the skin. I keep the pulp and use it for other recipes (such as soup or the likes). It can be frozen as is. Once emptied, put them in a pot of boiling water with a few pinches of salt, and slowly cook for about 4 minutes or until slightly soft. Don’t overdo them!
Once ready, put them upside down on kitchen paper to get all the extra water out. You can leave them there while you prepare the stuffing.
Now, the fun part!
I live in Spain, and here you can find cheap, prepackaged minced meat at the supermarket. I still haven’t found even one supermarket, however, that offers minced meat without iffy ingredients such as corn starch, sugar, flours of some kinds etc. I find that disgusting and useless and always go to the butcher (some supermarkets have butchers on site, otherwise you have to go to an actually butcher) and ask them to mince the meat for you. I feel much better when I do that, even though it does cost a little more.
Oh, another ingredient I forgot. Straight from our balcony!
Mix everything up well and then stuff the zucchini. I stuff them very, very well, pushing down hard and filling up every last bit. That makes it better when you cut the whole thing, later. It makes it firmer.
Remember those tops you kept? (you kept them, right?!) Well, pop them back on your zucchine, put them on a heat resistant dish and bake in the oven (about 180C) for about 10-15 minutes, or until soft.
Some variants are with rice in the stuffing or bread crumbs (I didn’t in this recipe because the whole idea was to go carb-free), that help keep the stuffing compact when you cut the zucchine. Cheese (gouda, parmesan, pecorino..) is good (ok, cheese is always good), and also helps the stuffing stay firm when you cut it. All options are fine, but I find this one the healthiest.