Sunday, 29 April 2012

Zucchine Ripiene alla Mozzarella ( Stuffed Courgettes, with Mozzarella)








As she emptied her shopping bag... a shower of green leaves "flew" out: chard, three, maybe four bundles of rucola, followed by peppers (really big ones, very shiny and funny shaped!) and  tiny, little friggitelli, the tiniest, cutest little peppers the child had ever seen!

At the bottom of the bag, four or five large zucchine: green, almost stripey and squeaky to touch!
She loved zucchine! Her mother said they tasted "fresh" in Summer. "Will we make Parmigiana with them?" "No"- Mamma replied "Oggi mangeremo le zucchine ripiene!" "No, today we will make stuffed courgettes!"
Having put all the green treasures away, mother and daughter (her little shoulders just above the height of the table top,) got to work, together.
The little girl watched her mother with admiration, as she scooped the pale green (almost white) flesh out of the beautiful zucchine. She knew that earthy smell very well, and she also knew that soon she would get the job of chopping the "bits" that mamma had scooped out of the courgettes .
Outside, it was very sunny and hot. Something told the little girl to savour this simple, ordinary, but at the same time precious moment, and hide it in the box she kept locked in her heart. You never know...
As I look out of the window, today, I see the world through a stream of water. Tiny drops of rain chase each other, as they make their way down the window payne.
It's been raining for days... day and night... night and day... incessantly... it never seems to stop. Will it ever stop?
I will  find refuge in my little universe of scents, words in another language, memories and sunshine.
Today I will go back to that day, in our kitchen in Italy and will make the dish I was helping my mamma prepare. 
Zucchine Ripiene
alla Mozzarella
  (Stuffed Courgettes
with mozzarella)

Ingredients:
Serves 4
2 fresh largish zucchine
(courgettes)
1 slice and half, or a small piece of white bread
4 cloves of garlic
1 egg
some Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1 generous tbs of capers in vinegar
1 mozzarella
fresh parsley
5-6 cherry tmatoes (or
4 peeled plum tomatoes)
Olive oil
some water
 salt

black pepper
Wash your courgettes, trim the ends, then cut in half lengthways, and finally scoop the flesh out of the middle of each half ( I do this with  a spoon or a teaspoon, as I find it easier than using a knife!)
Now you should have four courgette shells and a some beautiful translucent courgette flesh. 


                             I could only fit three in my dish! I used the 4th one for
                                                          my risotto!


Cut the flesh into small cubes, then chop two cloves of garlic very finely and break your bread into small pieces (if your bread is not fresh, or is crusty, it should be quickly soaked in water and then squeezed, to get all the liquid out of it)
In a non stick pan (I have recently bought an excellent Jamie Oliver non stick frying pan, which I love! And I love him, too!) place 5-6 tbsp of olive oil. Heat and add your chopped courgette flesh and the garlic. Stir, as these two ingredients mingle in the pan, and the courgette begins to soften. Add your bread, cut into small pieces, stir and mix again.  Now you are ready to add a whole egg.



                                                      making the filling

Using a wooden spoon, make sure all the ingredients are well blended and combined (the egg will do this for you.)
 Finally, add a generous handful of Pecorino or Parmesan, some salt and lots of lovely black pepper and some fresh parsley. Cook until the egg is well incorporated, and finally add a teaspoon of capers. I added some pink peppercorns to my filling, as I like the way it looks and its flavour.
This is your lovely stuffing done!
Place your courgette shells in an ovenproof dish and divide the stuffing equally, between them.
Cut your mozzarella into cubes and gently push a few peaces of it into the filling of each courgette. It will melt and taste delicious as the dish cooks.
Place some olive oil (as much or as little as you like) at the base of the dish, followed by water, half the way up the courgettes. To the water, add some capers, some chopped garlic ( about two cloves, or more if you like garlic) two or three tomatoes, chopped, some grated cheese, salt, pepper and parsley.



Make sure that some of the cheese and some olive oil "land" on the top of your courgettes. I also like to put a few slices  of cherry tomato on each.





Bake in a fairly hot oven 190C (375F-Gas5) until the courgettes feel soft and the finished dish looks golden. You'll know the dish is ready when you can smell the aroma produced by the ingredients of my lovely dish!



 


As you can see from the pictures, I served my zucchine on individual oval dishes, with a small portion of risotto made with zucchina and garlic, two towers of Savoy cabbage, which I love and, on the side, a salad (rucola, cherry tomatoes, pan fried gnocchi and pasta) served in a little dish I made from a tortilla bread.




I thought my dish looked really quite pretty. I really love zucchine! Did you know you can make Parmigiana (look up my Parmigiana recipe!) using zucchine instead of aubergine ?

 

47 comments:

  1. This looks just delicious Anna!

    Wish you a happy new week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!

      And a happy new week to you, too... though I don't want the weekend to end!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  2. Dear Anna - first of all your photos are wonderful. The lovely colours of the tomatoes against the gingham cloth, the red peppers on the black and while plate - simple stunning. I am so glad you put these lovely memories away in a little box and locked them in your heart, and now you are sharing them with us. I know your mother would be very proud of you.
    I am pleased to say that it has finally stopped raining here, and the skies are blue, so hopefully the same will happen with you soon.
    Once again your food looks absolutely wonderful. Open a restaurant and we can all come and eat with you.
    Ciao ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rosemary,

      You are very kind... thank you! My posts take such a long time to prepare, I couldn't do more than one a week! It's very hard work, but I like sharing my stories and my recipes with you all. It's also fun, though the bad weather doesn't inspire me!

      I can hear birds outside and I'm really hoping it will soon stop raining.

      I would really like to open a restaurant. It would be so much fun! And hard work, I know, but I would love it!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  3. Un post ricco di idee sfiziose!!! Soprattutto la Parmigiana di zucchine!!!
    Nonna usa solitamente carne macinata, cubetti di Mortadella e Parmigiano per le zucchine ripiene (ma anche peperoni e melanzane)..però vuoi mettere la tua mozzarella filante?! :)
    Ciao Anna, ti auguro un buon inizio di settimana!

    Michela x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cara Michela, mi fa tanto piacere risentirti!

      Volendo aggiungere carne tritata a questo ripieno, lo si potrebbe fare, senza problemi (mia madre lo faceva, a volte, anche se lei non mangiava carne)
      A me piace questa versione vegetariana, tanto soffice e delicata. Ho fritto gli gnocchi e li ho aggiunti all'insalata per rendere il tutto un po` crunchy. Il contenitore ottenuto da una tortilla, mi piace tanto (ed e` mangiabile!)


      Ti auguro anch'io un buon inizio di settimana.
      BACIONI A VENEZIA!

      ANNA

      xx

      Delete
  4. Dear Anna
    You have a wonderful way to tell your beautiful memories. I love stuffed zucchini, but nobody eats in the house. Αnd now just returned from a property in which we worked to cut the weeds. I am so hungry! Please ,can I have a gorgeous dish you cooked ?
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia,

      I really love zucchine and I know a lot of different ways of cooking and eating them! Shame noone likes zucchine in your house, because I know in Greece they make delicious stuffed vegetables (though I don't like vegetables stuffed with rice. Too heavy for me!)
      PS: if you come to my house to do my weeding for me, I promise I will cook you some lovely food for you!

      Good night!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  5. That looks so appetizing!

    Hope that the rain will stop soon!

    ♥ Franka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Franka,

      I'm afraid we are stuck with this weather for a few days, yet, and I've had enough. It has to get better, soon...

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  6. Peccato che sono allergica al formaggio,ma devono essere deliziose;D
    Bacioni e buon inizio settima!!
    Sabry!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Sabry e grazie per la visita!
      Hai ragione: e` una preparazione delicata e deliziosa.

      Sei allergica al formaggio? Poverina... e` uno dei cibi che preferisco. Sono certa che riuscirai a sopravvivere senza, comunque! Ma e` ugualmente un peccato! In ogni caso, questa ricetta la si potrebbe realizzare anche senza formaggio, usando della carne tritata, invece della mozzarella.

      Fatti risentire!

      CIAO e... a presto!

      ANNA

      Delete
  7. Thank you Anna, your food is so delicious and I love your photos. The food and the cloth , it fits so well and the colours are so pretty. It's really the Taste of Italy. Italian food is the best!

    Grethe ´)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Grethe!

      Thank you so much for brightening a very dull, gray and rainy day with such a lovely comment! Thank you... and... I have to agree: Italian food is the best, but then I would say that as I am Italian through and through!

      You are welcome to comment any time you wish to.

      Ciao!

      ANNA

      Delete
  8. It looks deliciously and I know it taste deliciously too! It's Italian style - one see it from afar! I've got the same table cloth as you and I like to use it in the summer - it spreads a holiday like feeling. We've been eating stuffed veggies in Cinque Terre but I think it there was no mozzarella in it. It was more like a bread filling but yummy as well! Here the weather is bad as well. The sky is covered with clouds and it is rather cold. My son is cycling towards Bordeaux at the moment and wrote that it is rainy and cold there too. We should definitely leave for Italy! BMH&B Christa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christa,

      There is bread in my filling, as you can see, but not too much, as the idea is to produce something which is going to be soft and moist (so, no breadcrumbs, but soft bread!)

      My sister told me it's Summer in Puglia and that today they are all at the villa, swimming and sunbathing ( May 1st is a national holiday, in Italy)... I think I feel slightly sick... the thought of being here, when I could be there makes me want to cry. Then I hear the birds outside, look at my roses and my strawberries and feel that even without sun... well... it's quite lovely, though I'm counting the days, till we go back for a very long holiday (6 weeks!)

      BUONA GIORNATA!
      BMH&B
      ANNA

      Delete
  9. Bontà! Meraviglia! Fame! Ciao!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ciao anche a te, Eva! E che bel nome: Eva May!

    GRAZIE!

    A presto, spero!

    ANNA

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Anna, what a solution for a dreary drizzly day... I think I can smell these courgettes with parmesan all the way here...we are dreary too and I am no where near a kitchen...help!

    Sending you love ...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well... who knows... maybe your cats might help! They can do so many things! They really are clever!

    Thank you for coming to say hello. Hugs to you and your kitty boys.

    PS: This gorgeous silver tabby/ginger cat-she must be just a few months old came into my garden today. She's so pretty! She let me hold her... I think she likes me! I took so many photos of her! I'm in love!

    CIAO!

    ANNA

    ReplyDelete
  13. mmmm sembra tutto ottimo :D bravissima :D ps: sono una nuova seguace del tuo blog! :) non vedo l'ora di avere un po' di tempo per leggere anche i post precedenti :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Antonella! Sai, il cognome della mia nonna materna era Leone, come il tuo!

      Grazie per i complimenti e... mi farebbe piacere se leggessi i post precedenti: nel mio blog c'e` tanto amore!

      A presto, Antonella!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      X

      Delete
    2. PS: vorrei seguire il tuo blog, ma non riesco a vedere che altro modo vi sia, tranne facebook, in quanto non vi sono iscritta! Daro` un altro sguardo piu` tardi!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  14. Ciao Anna - I just read your comment on my muesli post. I am like you: Any nut that is around is eaten by me! Sometimes I just buy five nuts in the shop but before I am at the cashier they are gone! And the ones in the muesli mixture are also fished out by me! At least there is work to do before I can eat them! BMH&B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At Christmas time, Christa, my husband bought me a 700g bag of pine nuts... BIG MISTAKE! Every day I ate one or two handfuls of them (they are quite delicious!) and only just had enough to make him the Biscotti ai Pinoli (recipe on blog!) he so wanted me to make, as he loves them so much!

      I have fond memories of picking almonds off a tree outside my cousin's villa in the country, cracking each open with a small rock, and eating them. Fresh almonds are so good! Dry ones aren't bad, either!

      BUONA NOTTE and... don't eat nuts at night: they give you bad dreams!

      BMH&B

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  15. Mi piace....ottimo!! Anche il tuo blog. ciao da claudette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao, Claudia! Ti invio un abbraccio dall'Inghilterra! Mi ha fatto piacere il tuo commento!

      BUON FINE SETTIMANA... io ne ho bisogno!

      ANNA

      Delete
  16. Looks delishious! I love zucchine and can't wait to try this. Your posts always make me so hungry!!!

    Danielle xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao, Danielle! There is a solution to the "hunger" problem: buy some courgettes and try the dish! It's very, very delicate and Summery!

      HAPPY WEEKEND!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  17. Replies
    1. Salve Carmine e grazie della gradita visita. Ho visto la parola magica, sul tuo blog, se non sbaglio: ALGIDA!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  18. Dearest Anna,
    Mama mia. que coisa tao bello..

    this is a must recipe for me. I love courgetts..
    your post is simply beautifully written and the memories you hold of your childhood you hold dear to your heart. They will be with you forever.
    Great photos and your setting is stunning.

    happy Friday Anna.
    Ciao e grazi..
    valxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buongiorno, signora Val! Come va?

      Thank you for the compliments. I am very, very critical of my posts and I know that my photography could be much better (I must attend a course!)But I also know that my pictures convey the warmth of my native Italy, through the bright colours and the choice of dishes I make!

      HAPPY WEEKEND IN SUNNY PORTUGAL!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
  19. Hello Anna

    This receipe looks so comforting. I love hearing about your beautiful mother and I do believe when one cooks with love in their heart there is a magic herb added to the finished dish.

    I am going to make this dish for sure. Thank you for your beautiful comment to my last posting. It is always a joy to see your smile.
    Have a glorious weekend

    ReplyDelete
  20. che buoneeeee tutte da provare complimenti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Giovanna! Prova pure e dimmi se ti sono piaciute!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  21. As always, dear Anna, this looks scrumptious! I do have a recipe very similar to this that we eat often. However, I have to say the final serving of our meal is not nearly as beautiful as your lovely photograph!
    We are expecting another wet weekend but I do hope yours is a very happy one,
    Jane xx
    ps. couldn't get to see your new post about salad...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jane! Thank you for complimenting me on the final serving of my dish, as I was contemplating the removal of that photo (the dish is too big and I think the items on the plate are not "communicating!")but I'm glad you like it!

      The dish, though, really was and is good. My little courgette risotto was fantastic and the salad, with crunchy fried gnocchi, was yummy and looked very pretty!

      Today: omelette! As you might know, by now, I am the proud owner of 24 newly laid, free range eggs from my friend Sam(antha)'s happy hens!

      Apparently, they go out in the morning, walk round the village and into neighbouring gardens, eat worms and slugs all day, then come back in the evening, peck on the french doors with their beaks and Sam lets them into the hen house, safely away from the foxes, for the night.

      There is one "rebel" as Sm says. A few evenings ago she failed to return home. A neighbour called Sam to let her know that the hen was perched on a tree, right at the top and wouldn't come down. Apparently she spent the night there, as nothing and noone could get her to come down!

      I am happy to eat their eggs, as Sam's hens are loved and cherished. She is vegan and all her chickens die of old age. She keeps them even when they stop laying!

      There's a story for you, Jane!

      PS: Do you think the rebel hen might be guilty of egging Ed Milliband? Or was is one of your friends?

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  22. Dear Jane,

    I wrote a very, very long reply to your comment, but it went... somewhere... don't know where! Maybe just as well, as it was too long!

    The post about salad wasn't mine! I thought I was commenting on someone else's post, in Italian and, as by miracle, the reply appeared as a post on my blog! I think I must have created a link, somehow, which I had to delete!

    I'm glad you liked my photos... I'm always very critical of them, as I can see they are not as professional looking as they should be. But then... I'm not a photographer, am I?

    We had a sunny day here. So far, so good, but I'm feeling cold!

    HAPPY WEEKEND!

    ANNA

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS: THE LONG COMMENT JUST APPEARED! RIDICULOUS!SORRY! NOT GUILTY!

      ANNA

      Delete
  23. Hi Anna, what a lovely post! I love the way you relate your memories of preparing the dish with your Mother and then share her recipe - all your shared recipes with your memories before would make the most wonderful real Italian Cookbook!
    This recipe looks delicious! I may save it for the summer when I have a surfeit of courgettes - i have atleast 12 sturdy little plants (enough for family and friends too!) in my greenhouse, from Italian seed bought from my local nursery run by an Italian and his English wife.
    Thank you for sharing this Anna, for taking the time to write out the recipe and take photos - it is greatly appreciated!!!
    Atleast eating this sunny dish will remind us of sunnier days even as the rain trickles down the windowpane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gilly...I wold SO LOVE to have a book published. Not being silly, but, as much as I like certain Italian chefs on TV, at the moment... I think my food is much more authentic than theirs! One good thing about Gennaro Contaldo: he inspired Jamie Oliver to cook Italian. I actually think that Jamie knows more about cooking Italian than Contaldo and Carluccio put together (he- Carluccio- made fish soup with ONIONS!SIN!) Let's give Jamie Oliver Honorary Italian Citizenship!

      Anyway... I had a good teacher and my mum had a good pupil. I cherished every minute I spent with her and my grandmother and I am doing this blog for her, which is why she is mentioned so much! I just find it so hard to believe that she's gone, Gilly...

      Anyway... thank you so much! I made Calzone di Cipolle, today, (Italian Onion Pie-FANTASTIC STUFF!) which will be posted soon. I can smell it as I write. It's a must for pastry lovers (I'm not one of them, I'm afraid, but I love the filling!)

      HAPPY BANK HOLIDAY!

      XX

      ANNA

      Delete
  24. I forgot to say how fantastic the baked stuffed zucchini looks on your platter with the accompaniments - it looks so professional, like a dish you would enjoy in a top restaurant, only far more delicious. Well done Anna!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GRAZIE, GRAZIE... GRAZIE MILLE, GILLY!

      ANNA

      xxx

      Delete
  25. My sweet Anna
    What are you doing ¨? Where are you? Here in Thessaloniki on 10 days it rains constantly.Morning sky has dark clouds and then it starts raining. Abominable weather. This year I did not go to the flower exhibition, held every year in May, due to rain. End of the month is done and the book report, but each time such a long time the rain destroys all. So we stay in the house ....
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ciao Anna, Thanks for calling my entry lobby! It sounds like an entry into a hotel! Unfortunately the "tiles" are not really tiles it's a kind of Novilon. Yes, one can get tired of things. That is why I frequently change. I put the things in a cupboard and take out something else. I would like to own a shop with vintage things. Then I could first display them in my home and then take them to the shop for resale. That's what my sister-in-law often does. I would like to see your home - I am sure it is very nice and if you say it is like a museum - that makes me very interested to see it! I hope you'll manage to take your pieces to Italy. I guess it is a long way to drive. Sometimes the fees for a transport aren't that bad, though. BTW we are not going to Italy for our summer holiday. :o( We are leaving for Ireland! We are doing a homeexchange (we have done some before) and I am very much looking forward to be close to Dublin and the sea for two weeks. I'll post about it later on. How is the cooking? Paul and I went to the market today. It was gorgeous and very colorful with that sunny weather. We bought meat and cheeses all from the region which we will cook together. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful, sunny, warm weekend! Abbraccio and BMH&B Christa PS. Sei un tesoro!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete