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Zucchine Ripiene - Stuffed Courgettes

This recipe comes from Carmelita Caruana. Carmelita is just passionate about food, about the scents and flavours of food, about the pleasures of cooking and of eating in convivial company, about the use of the best possible ingredients in order to maximise those pleasures.

She believes everyone can learn to cook. She also believes that to cook well you need first to be greedy, and then you need a little patience and a lot of passion!

She started Cook Italy which organises cooking holidays in Italy in 1999 and though relatively new to the field, she is already having great success, travelling internationally to give talks and to run cooking classes. She appeared as guest chef on BBC 2 's Saturday Kitchen last year, cooking a Sicilian menu, and plans to be running occasional evening cookery classes in London. Her cook book is on the way!


4 medium to large courgettes
100g minced veal
50g Mortadella
20g grated Parmesan
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or marjoram or a pinch of good dried oregano
1 shallot or medium fresh white onion (cipollotto, like a large spring onion)
1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper


  • Pre heat the oven to 200°.
  • Clean the courgettes, and use a fork or zester to make "stripes" along the skin. If you use a zester keep the strips removed for garnish later (just blanch them for 15 seconds, then scoop up and drain well).
  • Take a slice off each end and slice each courgette obliquely in alternating directions, to make 3 or 4 "logs" with one flat surface and one slanted. Blanch for 5 minutes in salted boiling water, then drain well.
  • Scoop out the centre from the slanted end with a teaspoon or melon baller.
  • Place the scooped out flesh in the processor with 4 tbsp. olive oil, the juice from the half lemon, a little salt and pepper and the oregano. Whizz and then set aside the resulting sauce.
  • Place the veal mince, the Mortadella and the Parmesan in the food processor and whizz together.
  • Now chop the shallot very fine (if using a cipollotto, chop some of the green stalk also), and place in a pan with 2 tbsp cold olive oil.
  • Cook gently on low heat so it wilts and softens without browning for 3 minutes, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the minced veal mixture, stirring in well.
  • Reserve the frying pan oil.
  • Fill the courgette logs with the veal mix and place in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the logs with the reserved cooking oil, add a little water to the baking pan, then bake for 20 minutes.
  • Allow them to cool to room temperature before serving, on a bed of the lemon / courgette sauce, garnished with the reserved blanched strips from the skin.


  • A contemporary variation on the many stuffed courgette recipes of Tuscany, indeed of much of Italy, which can be served warm or in hotter weather, at room temperature

Serves 4

Carmelita Caruana