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Orzo-Stuffed Zucchini

It’s time for “Flashback Friday” when I feature a favorite post from the past.  This week, the spotlight is on Orzo-Stuffed Zucchini, dating from July 2009. It was at a farmer’s market that summer when I discovered these adorable little round zucchini.  They were between the size of a tennis ball and a baseball and I couldn’t wait to get them home to stuff them.  I sliced off the tops and scooped out the insides, leaving about 1/4-inch shell all around.  I cooked the shells in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, just to soften them slightly.
I knew the stuffing would have to feature tomatoes because I love the zucchini-tomato combination.  I then got the idea to give it a puttanesca-inspired twist.  I sautéed minced garlic in olive oil along with the chopped insides from the zucchini.  I added chopped tomatoes, olives, and capers, seasoned with salt, pepper, and basil.  I combined this fragrant mixture with some cooked orzo (the rice-sized pasta proved to be perfect for the stuffing) and a little chopped cooked chard that I had on hand to add some greens.  I then stuffed the mixture inside each zucchini and baked them for about 20 minutes. I served these little beauties on a bed of the orzo-puttanesca mixture and they tasted as good as they looked. I haven’t seen these round zucchini since that one fateful encounter, but I keep looking — maybe I’ll find some next year.
While I was going through the posts from the summer of 2009, I found another favorite flashback from that time — this trio of delicious vegetables: roasted diced sweet potatoes and beets flanking some steamed spinach. 
I thought it would be fun to give the spinach a similar appearance to the other cubed vegetables, so I shaped it into a narrow rectangle and used my chef’s knife to “dice” it. The resulting plate of vegetables looked almost too good to eat — and would be even better drizzled with some Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce from Quick-Fix Vegan!
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Orzo-Stuffed Zucchini

At the farmer’s market last weekend, I discovered the most adorable little round zucchini. They were between the size of a tennis ball and a baseball and I couldn’t wait to get them home to stuff them!

It was a simple matter to slice off the tops and scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4-inch shell all around. I cooked the shells for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water, just to soften them slightly.

For the stuffing, I wanted to include tomatoes because I love the zucchini-tomato combination. Since puttanesca sauce is high on my list of favorite flavors, I decided that was a good place to begin. I sautéed minced garlic in olive oil along with the chopped insides from the zucchini. I then added chopped tomatoes, olives, and capers, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and basil.

I combined this fragrant mixture with some cooked orzo (this rice-shaped pasta is perfect in a stuffing). I added a little chopped cooked chard that I had on hand and then stuffed the mixture inside each zucchini and baked them for about 20 minutes.

To serve, I nestled these little beauties on a bed of the remaining orzo-puttanesca mixture and they tasted as good as they looked. I can’t wait until next week’s farmer’s market so I can see what other new and interesting vegetables are available.