RICOTTA AND MUSHROOM STUFFED ZUCCHINI
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
2 large zucchini
2 large clusters of oyster mushrooms, finely chopped ( ~ 1cup)
1+ TBS butter or olive oil, 3 cloves garlic (microplaned or finely minced)
2 good sprigs of thyme, de-stemmed (orange or lemon thyme if possible)
1 tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper
1/4 cup parmesan, 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta, pinch lemon zest, salt
Set your oven to 350. Halve the zucchini length-wise and hollow our the zucchini halves, retaining the bulk of the flesh
This can be tricky if you haven't done it before, so a few words of caution seem appropriate: First, DON'T RUSH IT. That's how you get broken zucchinis like the one in the far left in the photo above. Second, while you do want to get the majority of the flesh out, don't be a perfectionist about it. That's another easy way to tear an otherwise perfectly lovely zucchini boat. Personally, I start by carving around the rind very carefully with a pairing knife, then gently popping out little segments with a small spoon. Then I lightly scrape any particularly thick parts with the spoon to get a more even hollow.
Set the zucchini boats aside and chop up the remaining zucchini flesh into about 1/2" cubes. Get your butter in a pan over medium heat. Once it's melted, toss in the garlic. Saute the garlic for about a minute, then add the mushrooms to the pan and turn up the heat just a touch. Let the mushrooms cook out for a couple of minutes, then add the zucchini and raise the heat just a touch again. Tossing every so often, saute the mushrooms and zucchini until they start to lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the thyme, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Combine the bread crumb topping mixture in a small bowl. Now it's time to stuff the zucchini. First, a light layer of ricotta followed by just a pinch of lemon zest (go easy, we already have lemon in the mushroom zucchini mix) and a pinch of salt. Next add a light layer of the mushroom zucchini mixture. Then comes just a light layer of ricotta (this time with no added salt or zest), followed by another layer of the mushroom zucchini mixture. Top with a generous amount of the bread crumb topping, compressing it down into the zucchini lightly. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the bottoms are just tender.
Fun fact: I actually made the ricotta for these from scratch and it was delicious! But I didn't take pictures. Eventually I'll post it as it's own recipe and get a link to it here. It may sound intimidating, but I promise, it was so easy!