I freakin' love zucchini.
I mean, it's so darn versatile. I use it in soups, in muffins and breads, in stirfry, even with pizza toppings. I nearly always have zucchini in my fridge or on my counter all year long.
I'd picked up a few lovely zucchini from a nearby farm, along with several white button mushrooms, some bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Everything just looked so fresh and bright and healthy that I decided to throw it all together in one yummy dish for lunch.
I've become quite enamored of grouping all my produce together when I first bring it home. All the colors and textures of fresh veggies…there's something so visually appealing about it. After every trip to the grocery store, local farm or produce stand, I always have to unload the purchases onto the table or counter and leave them there for a bit so I can admire them before they get put away.
Chris thinks I'm weird…and he's probably right. But I just can't help enjoying it… I think, though, the appeal has much more to do with the satisfaction I get of knowing I just brought home all kinds of nutritious and healthy fruits and veggies instead of cookies and crackers and junk food. I take a weird sort of pride from, well, being proud of our better lifestyle.
My stunning array of fresh produce was waiting, however, so I cut my admiration short and pulled out the cutting board and my cast-iron skillet, flipped on the oven, and set to work, just winging the recipe as I went along.
First thing's first…I removed the stems from the washed and dried mushrooms, and halved the zucchini and scooped out the insides.
Really, it was more like I took a chunk out of the middle of the zucchini..I can never get that 'scoop' part quite right, no matter what kitchen tool I used…so I finally resorted to half-hacking at it. I figured it didn't really need to be pretty, since I'll be stuffing it anyway!
I sprinkled the mushroom caps and the zucchini with pepper and set them in my glass pie pan, then set to work chopping the stems of the mushrooms, the middle of the zucchini, and the bell pepper and cherry tomatoes into small pieces, and I sautee'd them in my cast-iron skillet until softened, with a half-tablespoon of both butter and olive oil.
There's this amazing global foods store down near my parent's house that I absolutely love, and their parmesan cheese is A-MAZE-ING. I can't help it…every time I pull it out to grate some, I have to slice off a little sliver and let it sit on my tongue. It's so ridiculously delicious…
I convinced myself that since I needed some parmesan for both the veggies and more to go on top, I could have two slices. I was totally doing the happy-butt-wiggle over the second slice.
After mixing the cheese into the softened veggies and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste (along with a little bit of garlic and a pinch of basil and oregano and rosemary, just for the heck of it) I spooned it all into the mushroom caps and the zucchini.
The rest of the parmesan cheese went on top, and the pie pan went into the oven at 425 for about 40 minutes, or until the zucchini was softened/cooked.
The boys and Chris weren't very impressed with my lunch, but I sure was…and enjoyed the leftovers later for a snack! The only thing better than seeing all those pretty and colorful veggies on my counter is seeing them on my plate…and tasting how delicious they can be!