I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I first started Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind, I wasn’t very well-organised. I decided to start the blog without having any content prepared or recipes tested. I was flying by the seat of my pants, but it was all because I was so excited to join the food blogging world.
Now that I’m a little bit wiser, I’m aiming for quality over quantity. In the last few weeks, I’ve dropped my posts down to once a week, because it gets dark too early to take photos in the evening. I’m limited to weekends only for taking photos and just don’t have enough content to post two or three times a week. For most savoury recipes, like today’s, it also means I need to cook dinner at lunch time. I know a lot of full-time bloggers do this, but for me, this is still a hobby and I don’t want to change my entire schedule just to get some good pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy everything about it, but it’s not my entire life, so I hope you’ll forgive my decreased posting schedule.
Today’s dinner recipe was well worth cooking at lunch time. To ensure a new dinner recipe is blog-worthy, I’ll normally cook it for dinner during the week, and if it’s a success, I’ll make it again one weekend just to photograph it (and enjoy it’s yummy-ness again!). It’s a tough screening process, but the ones that make it to the weekend photo shoot are the cream of the crop.
So, on to zucchini. Are you a fan? I wasn’t until a couple of years ago. I’d only ever had it steamed and I thought it was too watery and squishy for my liking. Once it was prepared differently though, I jumped on the zucchini bandwagon. Big fan now! This recipe was a brand new way of cooking zucchini for me. They are hollowed out, par-baked, stuffed with a sausage filling and covered in cheese. The zucchini comes out just right – not too crunchy, not too soggy. The sausage is flavoured with herbs and tomatoes, spooned into the zucchini and smothered with melty mozzarella cheese. It’s a super tasty, easy weeknight dinner recipe, and is great if you’re looking for something a bit different to your usual fare.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthways
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
400g pork sausages (comes as a 6 pack in the UK)
1 (400g) can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Place a wire rack over a baking tray or roasting pan. This prevents the zucchini from cooking in its own juices and getting soggy as it cooks.
- Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds of the zucchini and make a well, leaving a 0.5 cm rim. Brush both sides of the zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place zucchini, skin side up on the prepared wire rack. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cooked through, but not soggy.
- While zucchini is cooking, remove sausages from their casing and cook in a medium frying pan over medium heat, breaking up into small pieces while cooking. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano and chilli flakes and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened.
- Remove zucchini from oven, turn over and fill with sausage mixture, then return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, then place under a grill (broiler) for 2-3 minutes, until cheese has melted and browned slightly. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.