Make zucchini the star of the show and stuff them with beef, cheese, herbs and pepper, then bake until tender and savoury.
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 400 g minced beef
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 400 g can diced tomatoes
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 130 g (1 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped (stalks reserved and chopped)
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 25 g (¼ cup) grated parmesan
- ¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 zucchini flowers, torn (optional)
- 1 lemon, zest
- green salad, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat a good drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the beef, onion and garlic and stir, breaking up any lumps with the back of a spoon, until no pink remains. Drain any fat from the pan.
- Stir in the tomatoes, capsicum, rosemary, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the mozzarella and the chopped parsley stalks. Taste for seasoning.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the centres to create a shell. Place the chopped tomatoes in base of a baking dish and place the zucchini halves, cut – side up on top. Fill each zucchini half with the beef cheese mixture. Top with the remaining mozzarella, the parmesan and a few twists of black pepper.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is bubbling. Place the parsley, basil, torn zucchini flowers and lemon zest in a bowl and serve on top of the baked stuffed zucchini with a green salad on the side.
Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.
Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.