Don’t these look great? I made and posted about vegetarian stuffed round zucchini a while ago. When I saw REMCooks’ post Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini with the round zucchini stuffed with ground meat, I was inspired to create these round zucchini stuffed with pork, REMCooks’ pickled chipotles, and mozzarella.
There are two techniques to cook stuffed zucchini, depending on whether you parcook the zucchini first or not. I decided to parcook the zucchini first, as that would allow me to include the scooped out center of the zucchini in the stuffing (which adds another layer of flavor and reduces waste). As I already knew from making pork burgers with pickled chipotles and cheese, the combination of the pork, chipotle and cheese worked very well. The zucchini makes for a great presentation and it also adds flavor and texture. This recipe is relatively simple if you already have the pickled chipotles (I’ve always had them on hand ever since Richard sent me a sample and afterwards I’ve made my own batch). Here’s what I did.
For 4 stuffed zucchini, serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course
4 round zucchini
250 grams (.55 lb) ground pork
125 grams (4.5 oz) mozzarella, preferably buffalo, drained and diced
2 pickled chipotle chiles, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Grease an oven proof dish with some olive oil. Lightly brush the zucchini with olive oil on the outside and season lightly with salt on the inside. Lightly brush the zucchini caps with olive oil as well. Arrange the zucchini in the oven proof dish.
Orecchiette are the pasta shape of Puglia, the ‘heel’ of the boot that is the Italian peninsula. Even if you are not as practiced as a nonna from Puglia, you should still be able to make your own orecchiette with a more interesting texture than store-bought. The hardest part is to make those ‘little ears’ as small and thin as a real nonna, but they will be nice all the same.