Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Vodka-Infused Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Remember the abundance of peaches I had? Well, now I’m picking three or four HUGE zucchini a day! I really like zucchini, but after a few weeks of this even I’m getting sick of zucchini. I had exhausted the various ways to cook them. I had BBQ’d them, sauteed them, put them in a frittata, cut them into strips and dipped them in hummus, made ribbons out of them and tossed them with Parmesan and olive oil and of course, the old stand-by, I made zucchini bread. 
Now I was staring at the two new ones sitting on my kitchen counter wondering what else I could do with them, when all I really wanted for dinner was Penne alla Vodka! But I didn’t have any penne (how could that be?) and I didn’t have cream. But I did have vodka, some Italian sausage, a jar of store-bought marinara sauce and of course the zucchini. 
I guess in the end it was nothing like Penne alla Vodka, but the Italian flavors were all there and I didn’t really miss the cream…or the penne. Well, maybe just a little. But I’m happy to report it satisfied my craving for Italian food. Oh…and if you don’t have or like vodka–no problem–it will still be really good. (Thanks Shaena!)
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 jar Classico pasta sauce (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup fresh herbs chopped (1/2 basil, 1/2 parsley)
  • 1 TBS. Parmesan cheese
  • Breadcrumbs–you’ll see how I made them
  • Pam
You can use any sausage, but I like the Johnsonville brand, and I like it hot.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Saute the garlic, onion and Italian seasoning over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the Italian sausage and crumble as it cooks over medium heat.

Cook until nicely browned. 

Add your favorite jar of pasta sauce to the pan and stir. Add the vodka, bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.

Stir in the fresh herbs.

Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. 

While the sauce is simmering, prepare your zucchini boats. Cut them length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Make them deep enough to hold the filling.

I didn’t have any breadcrumbs or old bread, but I did have this package of croutons.

And with a small kitchen mallet and a Ziploc bag they turned into the best breadcrumbs. 

Spray Pam on the rimmed baking sheet. Place zucchini on the pan, carefully spoon in the sauce and top with the Parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is fork tender. It might take more or less time depending on how fresh and how big they are. When they’re done put them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to crisp and brown the tops.

And here’s how they should look when you’re done. I served them with fresh tomatoes. I know it wasn’t exactly Penne alla Vodka, but all the Italian flavors were there–without all the calories!

Remember you can always read it first at Stu News.

Categories: Sides, Vegetables

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