I think most Cypriots who cook, like to stuff veggies. Aubergines, vine leaves, courgette flowers, cabbage, onions, tomatoes the list is endless. Whatever has a cavity, it can be filled with all sorts of goodies like rice, mince or veggies. Of course, if there is no cavity we can always create one. And we do it because we know that stuffed food, if done wright, tastes and looks spectacular.
These lovely courgettes are absolutely delicious. The filling is the tastiest bulgur wheat, cooked with onions and mushrooms and then slowly simmered in crushed tomatoes. I added buttery pistachios for a nice crunch and lots of crumbled feta cheese for that delicious tang. I finished off the dish with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, which melted in the oven and although you could barely see it, the salty, intense taste of the cheese is all there to fill your mouth.
When I served it, it was one of those moments you present to your guests something that tastes even better than it looks. Even my “meat-and-potatoes” eating hubby had seconds. I stuffed my face.
- 6 large courgettes (zucchini)
- Olive oil for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup red or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 ½ cups mushrooms, chopped
- ¼ parsley leaves, chopped
- ½ cup bulgur wheat (blue pack)
- ½ cup grated tomatoes (from a jar or a can)
- 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
- ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup “leivadiotis” unsalted pistachios, chopped
To finish the dish:
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4 Tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with a spoon so as to create a courgette “boat”. Place courgettes halves on a baking tray and brush generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes until courgettes are cooked but not falling apart.
Make the stuffing: In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and beginning to colour. Add chopped mushrooms and cook about 1 minute until mushrooms are cooked.
Add parsley and bulgur wheat to the pot. Mix everything together so that the wheat is coated with the juices in the pot. Add the tomato and mix again. Add the vegetable broth and lower the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and cook 15 minutes until bulgur wheat is cooked.
Take the pot off the heat and let is stand covered for 10 minutes. Add the feta and pistachios to the pot and mix briefly. The stuffing is ready.
Stuff and bake the courgettes: Stuff each courgettes “boat” with plenty of stuffing. You may have leftovers, depending on how big your courgettes are. That’s why I always bake a few courgettes extra, just in case.
Sprinkle the courgettes with the oregano and Parmesan cheese. Return courgettes back in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until parmesan has melted and the dish is heated through. Serve at once.