I am pleased to announce that we finally got through the entire box of zucchini that was given to me at my son’s practice last month! It wasn’t easy, and it took a little creativity, but we managed to use up every single zucchini!! I chopped, I grated, I baked, I froze.
Every. Last. One. When the last one was finally whipped into a batch of zucchini bread, I gave a sigh of relief. I had done it! And then, at my son’s cross country meet last week, a parent came walking up carrying a bag, with those same pleading eyes again. I already knew what was coming.
“Think you could use some zucchini? Our garden is overflowing…” I took one look at the expression on his face and knew I had to accept.
So here I am, back to square one again. Only this time, we’re all zucchini cake and muffin-ed out (I didn’t think that was possible!!). What to do with all this zucchini now??
As I was walking through our local grocery the other day, I noticed they were having their annual bulk bin sale, and the wild rice caught my eye. I love wild rice!! It just screams fall! And a sale? Yes, please!! The first thing that comes to my mind with wild rice is stuffing. So–out of a desperate attempt to dwindle down the size of our zucchini pile-Wild Rice Stuffed Zucchini was born.
And boy, it did not disappoint! The nutty chewiness of wild rice perfectly compliments all that ooey gooey richness of the mozzarella and Parmesan. And those colors! Not only did my kitchen smell wonderful, these zucchini look absolutely beautiful served on a plate. My family devoured this one!! Mission accomplished. And, I have restored our love for zucchini once again! I have to say, although it is quite the prolific-producing plant, it really is delicious.
Pair this stuffed zucchini with some nice crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, well-rounded meal. Enjoy!
Wild Rice Stuffed Zucchini
Zucchini stuffed with an Italian-style wild rice, ground beef, tomato, and mushroom stuffing. The layers of mozzarella make this a dynamite dish!
Slice zucchini long ways and scoop out the inside flesh. Roughly chop the zucchini flesh (discard any large seeds, if any), and set aside. Arrange the scooped out zucchini halves in a large baking dish.
Heat a large cast iron dutch oven on medium-low heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and butter.
When butter is melted, add onion, 1 clove minced garlic, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and pepper. Turn heat to medium low and cook until onion and garlic is soft (but not browned), 2-3 minutes.
Add wild rice to the pot, stir, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth and white wine. Turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer rice mixture for 45-55 minutes, or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is cooked out.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium heat in a cast iron pan. Add ground beef, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, garlic, the reserved chopped zucchini flesh, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and continue to cook another few minutes, until mushrooms are soft.
When the rice is cooked, gently fold in the meat mixture into the rice. Add the chopped parsley and basil.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To assemble the stuffed zucchini, sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cubes on the bottom of each zucchini, then top with a layer of rice mixture, another layer of mozzarella cubes, and another layer of rice mixture. You will have some rice mixture leftover to serve alongside the zucchini (this makes quite a bit of rice mixture).
Cover with the stuffed zucchini with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and sprinkle each zucchini with parmesan cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.