6-8 appetizer servings
Tip: Holidays many times call for appetizers, whether at home or taken to a friend’s or colleague’s party. Look for options that can be made ahead so the host won’t need to share kitchen space when you arrive. I also appreciate appetizers that can be served at room temperature. All the better for relaxation at party time. Cheers!
1/3 cup whole milk
1 slice white sandwich bread (sturdy and day-old works best)
4 medium zucchini
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned whole, peeled tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup olive oil, divided into 2 Tbsp portions
1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
4 oz prosciutto
1 oz pancetta
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 large egg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
In a medium bowl, pour milk over bread; soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze bread to drain milk; discard milk; put bread back into bowl.
Mince prosciutto; add to bread.
Mince pancetta; add to bread.
Grate Parmesan cheese; add to bread.
Mince parsley; add to bread.
Lightly beat egg in a small cup; add to bread.
Measure tomatoes into a small bowl; crush using a fork, a cup or your hands.
Mince garlic; add to tomatoes.
Crush red pepper flakes; add to tomatoes. Stir in 2 Tbsp olive oil, S&P to taste. Set sauce aside.
Chiffonade basil leaves (cut into thin shreds); set aside for garnish.
Wash, dry and trim ends of zucchini (do not peel); cut into 1 1/2″ lengths. Make cups using a melon baller to hollow out zucchini pieces; leave 1/4″ walls. Season zucchini cups with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Stuff bread/meat mixture (evenly divided) into zucchini cups.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini cups in batches (do not over-crowd). Sauté, turning once, until brown on both sides, 1-3 minutes.
Using tongs, move cups with stuffing facing up, to a square or small rectangular baking dish. Spoon the tomato sauce over and around zucchini. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: These will hold safely at room temperature for a couple of hours…they probably won’t last that long! 🙂