Football season is in full force and that means hearty finger foods and appetizers for your family and friends! Italian Zucchini Boats are fun to make and your guests are sure to devour them. They can be a main course by using larger zucchini or as an appetizer using the smaller young zucchini.
This recipe can be made with zucchini or with sweet peppers, I like to make both and have a fun variety for my guests to enjoy.
- 8 Young Small Zucchini, cleaned and halved
- 2 lbs Hot Italian Sausage, remove from casing and roll sausage into mini meatballs
- 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 pints Cherry Tomatoes, cleaned and halved
- 8 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 8 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese, grated or cut into small pieces
- Prepare your zucchini by carefully scooping the center out of each half with a small spoon or melon scoop, reserve flesh of zucchini for later use in your filling.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place zucchini cut side up on the sheet pan and set aside.
- Sauté sausage, onions, garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper over medium heat until onions are tender. Add the halved tomatoes and zucchini flesh, continue to sauté until cooked down and it develops into a nice sauce, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- With a strainer, strain sauce and reserve liquid for later use.
- In a large bowl blend the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese with the sausage filling, mix well and set aside.
- Carefully fill each zucchini with the sausage filling, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Serve with the reserved sauce if desired
- I like to use Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausages
- If you want to brown up the tops a bit more you can broil for the last couple minutes, making sure not to burn them
- If stuffing peppers, prepare the same way. You can use small or large sweet peppers, cut in half, clean out seeds and fill.
- Baking time on peppers will be less then with the zucchini if using mini peppers. Baking will be about the same if using larger sweet peppers.
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