Barchette di zucchine ripiene
Now how very Italian does that title sound?? 🙂 Sooo much better then stuffed zuchini or stuffed courgette, wouldn’t you agree? I just love the Italian language, even though I have absolutely no idea what they are saying except when they say something useful like ‘ciao’ or arriverderci (which I am probably writing down wrong…) Did I tell you already that we will be leaving for Italy in about four weeks time? I can’t believe it is only 4 weeks away but I am so excited about it. We will be travelling around Tuscany with friends; we decided more or less on a route and we will see where we will end up. Definitely on the list to visit is Florence, but also the coast and obviously I would love to visit some special food related places. Markets, but maybe also little farms that make special produce, cheese, wine, olives and oooo, all that other fabulous stuff that Italy is so well known for! I have been to Italy twice but both only for a very very short time. The first time I visited was years ago and the reason of the visit was work related, so we stayed only one lousy day. I mean, seriously, one day in Italy; that doesn’t even count does it?? We stayed in the town of Mantova, lovely old little town (although I am quite sure it was called Mantova I have recently started to question my memory since I have heard that Mantova is nothing like the Mantova I remember! So forgive me for getting it wrong – maybe)
But even in that very short time I decided to get up at 5 am to have a walk around town and to see a little bit of Italy. The night before – after work – we did go out for dinner and I even managed to talk some shots of the little church by night as you can see on the left, but it really was far too short.
The second time I went to Italy I went with Jacqueline and I told you a little bit about it here. While we had loads of fun and I got to see a little bit more of Italy, it was only 5 days and most of those were filled with househunting. Plus – if I am being honest – the area of the Gardalake would not be my choice of scenery as I find it too overexploited for tourism. You can still find lovely little markets and lovely little towns in the area, but overall; too much tourism. It’s a fine balance for a country I think between giving in to the lures of tourism and to keeping it’s own identity.
Tuscany in itself is also quite touristic ofcourse; if you ever ask anyone where they are going in Italy then you are bound to hear they are going to Tuscany. Initially we wanted to go to both Tuscany and Umbria but since we are driving ourselves and we did not want to spend most of our holiday in the car, we decided to stick to one provence and maybe explore Umbria next time.
So in reality this is – or at least it feels that way to me – really the first time I am really visiting Italy and even then; Tuscany is just a small part. But it’s a good start!
How did I end up talking about all that; when I started with the lovely Italian dish we had for dinner the other day… 🙂
The thing is that we finally bought “The Silver Spoon” (Il cucchiaio d’argento) which is a cookbook featuring about 2000 Italian recipes and is said to be the classic Italian cookbook you have to have… Well, I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that the book – while shockingly not containing many photos – is very useful for when you are looking for a recipe to go with a certain ingredient. It is all listed by ingredient. So have courgette leftover? Look under courgette and you’ll find plenty of suggestions of what to do with them.
So while I cannot tell you yet if all the recipes are good, having tested only one, it does look promising and this particular recipe was definitely worth it!
Making it was a breeze; it just needed some cooking time. When I first read the recipe I would have thought that it was made in the oven, but it is not. But have a try for yourself; I garantuee you it is tasty!
- 100 gr ham cut into strips
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1 clove garlic mashed
- 50 gr pancetta chopped
- 100 gr ground beef
- 2 tbsp of parmezan freshly grated
- 1 egg
- 4 large courgette cut lengthwise in two
- 50 gr butter
- 2 tbsp of oliveoil
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp of passata
- salt and pepper
Mix ham, parsley, garlic, half the pancetta, the ground beef, the parmesan and the egg into a bowl with salt and pepper to taste. With a little sharp knife (or use a spoon) cut out the meat from the courgette but make sure to leave the shells intact. Fill them with your meatmixture.
Heat the butter and oliveoil in a wide pan (it will have to fit the courgettes too!), add the onion and the rest of the pancetta and bake for about 5 minutes on low; stir occasionally. Add the courgette and bake them also for a few minutes.
Mix the passata with 175 ml of warm water and put the mixture in the pan. Add salt, cover and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the courgettes are tender.
Put them in a hot bowl and pour a little of the cooking sauce over the top.