Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

Last Saturday I found these little squash at the Farmers Market in Sugar Land.  They are a hybrid squash, named 8 Ball Squash, that can be used much like Zucchini.  They are perfect for stuffing.

The stuffing I used is a variation of a recipe I found online, but any number of ingredients can be used.  I will try adding some fresh herbs and pine nuts the next time I make these. You could also try different cheeses or even add cooked ground meat.  I have often stuffed long zucchini.  My family calls those Zucchini Boats.  These look a bit like Zucchini Muffins!  I have planted a squash in my garden called Cupcake Squash and I can’t wait to see what that squash looks like!

Stuffed 8 Ball Squash

3-4   8 Ball Zucchini

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 tomato, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset)

Salt

Ground black pepper

1 cup water, or less.  See directions.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the tops off each zucchini. Set aside and reserve for later. Hollow out with spoon, chop,  and reserve the pulp.

Add bacon pieces to skillet and cook until bacon is brown.  Add the reserved chopped zucchini pulp, tomato, Italian seasoning, and onion and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked down. Remove pan from heat, add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese reserving some for topping. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. Stuff each hollowed zucchini with mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish or pan and add chicken stock to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Place the pan in oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top each zucchini with extra cheese. Place the reserved zucchini tops in the pan, return to oven and cook for 20 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Lift out stuffed squash to serving dish and add tops.

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