IIf you know anyone who has had an allot, or any growing patch, there is a good chance they have planted some zucchini. From just one seed, a rich plant emerges, similar to a travid, which sends out buds to find more space to grow its delicious fruits and flowers. There are many ways to cook zucchini, but I often put it in the middle of the dish. Filled with savory rice and a rich, buttery tomato sauce, they make an amazing vegetable main dish.
Zucchini stuffed with red rice, green olives and tomato confit sauce
The rich tomato sauce has an incredible flavor but try adding guajillo peppers for even more flavour. This recipe also works beautifully with eggplant.
to equip 10 minutes
cook 1 hour
Salt and black pepper
175 gm red rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onionPeeled and finely chopped
8-10 sprigs fresh thymeselect
5 large zucchini (250-300g)
80 gm green olivesPeeled and cut in half
Handful of roughly chopped parsley and tarragon leaves
45 grams pine nutstoasted
120 gm feta cheese
To prepare tomato sauce
40 grams butter
3 garlic clovesPeeled and cut into thin slices
900 grams fresh tomatoesCoarsely chopped or 2 x 400 gm mashed plum tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
dried chilli flakes½ guajillo pepper, finely chopped, or to taste (optional)
Boil 350 ml of salted water, add rice and bring to a boil again, then simmer until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let the rice steam – it doesn’t matter if it’s still a little dent.
Put the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat, add the onions, season generously, then add half of the thyme and leave to sweat gently while preparing the zucchini.
Cut the four largest zucchini in half lengthwise, then pour over the pulp using a sharp knife and teaspoon, leaving an edge of about 4-5 mm. Chop the chopped zucchini pulp, then chop the remaining zucchini into small cubes. Add the minced meat and diced zucchini to the onion pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until softened.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C (fan 180°C)/390°F/gas 6 and begin to saute. Melt the butter in a skillet, and when it sizzles, add the garlic and cayenne pepper, if using. As soon as the garlic begins to turn brown from the edges, add the tomatoes, season generously, add the remaining thyme and simmer for half an hour. Blitz Smooth (I use a hand blender), then leave in the pan to gently boil over low heat while stuffing the zucchini.
Place the hollowed-out bowls of zucchini in a large oven tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, season generously, and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cooked rice with the onion mixture, zucchini, chopped olives, and half of the tender herbs. Taste the filling and adjust seasonings as necessary. Stuff in grilled zucchini halves, crumble feta cheese on top and sprinkle with the last bit of olive oil. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes, until zucchini is completely tender, and serve immediately or at room temperature, drizzled with toasted pine nuts, the last of the herbs and warm tomato sauce.
Make this dairy-free milk by using olive oil instead of butter and omitting the feta.