We’re headed back to Italy at the end of this month to visit our friend, Ceri. We can’t wait to share with you all of our upcoming discoveries of food, wine, and people! Since we’re getting in the mood for Italy, we’ve been making mostly simple Italian food at home the past few weeks.
During our last trip to Italy, we stopped into one of our favorite restaurants in Florence, Cibreo, owned by chef Fabio Picchi. This stuffed zucchini dish was inspired by Chef Picchi. It’s an easy way to incorporate vegetables into your meal and makes the perfect lunch or side dish. It’s similar to a stuffed mushroom that you can serve along with a salad. It’s also great served cold.
Stuffed with ground beef, cheese, and breadcrumbs, these zucchini are even more delicious than they look. The first time we made this, we used long zucchinis, but you can use any shape you have on hand. It’s okay if you don’t get all of the filling into the squash. Our filling spilled out of our first batch, and it was so good that we were scraping the bits up here and there and munching on them as a snack.. We couldn’t let any of them go to waste!
If you make this, you’ll definitely want to make it over and over again. We can’t wait for summer squashes to come into peak season this year—we’ll be trying different variations of the recipe with grains, sausage, and more!
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan, add the diced red onion, and cook until soft.
- Once the onion is soft and translucent, add half of the reserved zucchini pulp to the pan and cook off the excess liquid from the pulp. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl.
- In the same pan, brown the ground beef, then add to the onion and zucchini mixture the mixing bowl.
- Add the bechamel to the mixture and stir to combine. Add freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the zucchini halves in a baking dish, cut side up. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then spoon a generous amount of filling into each half.
- In a small bowl, toss about a cup of panko bread crumbs with a drizzle of olive oil, just enough to coat. Top each zucchini half with some of the bread crumb mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees until the zucchini is soft, the filling is warmed through, and the bread crumbs are golden.