Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stuffed Globe Zucchini with Black Rice and Mint

Today’s dinner was slightly more involved: I had to grow the globe zucchini first. Unfortunately, there are none available at the local farmers markets or grocery stores, and I ordered some seeds in the winter and started seeding in February. Now, mid July the globe zucchini find the perfect climate: it is sufficiently warm, in the upper 80s and it also rains.
The zucchini plants share a raised bed with the mint plants as well as the flat leaf parsley plant. Both the mint and flat leaf parsley are mixed in the rice mixture which I used for stuffing the zucchini.
As usual with zucchini, first there are many flowers, and tiny zucchini. Then, the small zucchini just fall off until some of the zucchini decide it is the perfect climate to grow strong and big almost overnight, and then everyone else also decides to grow huge until you raise your hands over your head in horror and share the zucchini deluge with the neighbors. But, we are not quite there. Just enough for a 4 person dinner side.
The zucchini are scraped out with a melonballer, then stuffed with a rice mixtures, and baked for about 1h at 350F. Here is the recipe!
Stuffed Globe Zucchini with Black Rice and Mint (for 4 medium sized globe zucchini):
  • 4 globe zucchini, washed
  • 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • springs of sage and thyme
Rice mixture for stuffing:
  • 1 ts extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1/2 cup black rice (or risotto rice), rinsed and drained
  • splash of white wine
  • 1/2 can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup of zucchini flesh (from the globe zucchini), chopped
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 ts bouillon
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water (as needed)
  • large handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash and pad the globe zucchini dry. Cut off the tip of the zucchini to make for a little hat. Scrap the zucchini with a melon baller,  and preserve the zucchini flesh. Set aside.
To make the rice for the stuffed zucchini, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil to the pan, and heat. Add the chopped onion and fry on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and the rice as well as the zucchini flesh, and saute for about 3 min. Add the white wine, and scrap the bottom of the pan for the dark bits. Wait until wine is cooked off, and add a 1/2 cup of the hot water, bouillon, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes ; stir the mixture, cover the pot, and cook gently. Stir frequently and add more water as needed until the rice is tender (ca. 30 min). Remove from heat and stir in the  fresh mint, and flat-leaf parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Use the stuffing to fill the globe zucchini and arrange in an oven safe baking dish. Place the little hat on top, drizzle some olive oil on the zucchini and fill the chicken or vegetable stock in the baking dish. Baked at 350F for about 1h. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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