For two people, that is, three stuffed courgettes each as a main dish or first course. The six courgettes can of course be served to a larger number of guests with other little stuffed vegetables.
6 plump roundcourgettes weighing 80g (2¾oz) each. (You can also use the long variety, in which case choose ones 4–5cm (1½–2inches) in diameter cut into 6 cm (2¼ inch) lengths, but the round kind is better, if possible.)
30g (1oz) cooked ham, diced
3 large white mushrooms
2tablespoons chopped onion
3 freshly-chopped sage leaves
Put 2litres (3½pints) water on to boil with 2tablespoons coarse salt. While it comes to the boil trim off the courgette stalks and cut a ½ cm (1/5 inch) round from the stalk side and set it aside. Do not peel the courgettes. When the water boils, plunge in the courgettes and the rounds you have cut off them and boil for 10 minutes. Refresh under cold running water and drain in a sieve. Hollow out the flesh with a teaspoon, taking great care not to pierce the skin. Put the shells and the slices on one side and chop the scooped-out flesh coarsely.
Trim and wash the mushrooms thoroughly in cold running water and chop them coarsely. Chop the ham into small dice. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Mark 6.
Brown the chopped onion in 2tablespoons of oil, using the pan in which you have cooked the courgettes. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula. This should take 7–8 minutes. Then add the chopped mushrooms, the diced ham and the chopped sage. Stir for a further 5 minutes, then add the flesh of the courgettes. Season with salt, increase the heat and stir briskly until the liquid from the courgettes has evaporated. Take care that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper.
Arrange the courgette shells (1) on a baking-sheet or roasting-tin just large enough to take them. They should be packed in fairly tightly. Then put the stuffing (3) into the shells with a teaspoon, pushing it well down. Cover the courgettes with their tops (1) and sprinkle with 2tablespoons olive oil. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, keeping an eye on them and if necessary adding 1–2tablespoons of warm water to the pan.
Young fresh red wines (such as Provence, Beaujolais, Bourgueil)