Zucchini Ripieni

Stuffed Courgettes

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Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

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This dish is best used in combination with other stuffed vegetables.


  • 4 medium, very fresh courgettes
  • good olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and minced
  • 10 basil leaves or a small handful of parsley leaves
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (plus their oil)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 g Crisp Breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly oil and moisten a baking dish or Swiss roll tin with 2 tbsp water.

Trim the ends of the courgettes and then cut in half lengthways. With a teaspoon hollow out the courgette halves. This is best done by scraping the spoon towards you holding it near vertically along the length of the courgette – imagine you are making a Polynesian war canoe. Reserve the scrapings. Arrange the courgette halves in the prepared dish in a single layer. They should fit snugly enough to hold each other up.

Heat the frying pan to high then add a little oil and the onions, followed by the courgette scrapings. Sauté briskly for 2–3 minutes. Tip this mixture into a food processor. Add the basil, tomatoes, lemon zest, most of the breadcrumbs, the garlic and a little oil. Process briefly, taste and season.

Spoon this mixture into the dug-out courgettes, drizzle with oil and scatter a small amount of the reserved breadcrumbs over. Bake for 25 minutes, making sure the baking dish does not dry up with the courgettes starting to fry and burn; add more water if necessary. Do not let them burn on top. Check for doneness by piercing the end of the courgettes with a knife. If very tender, it is done.

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