Sicilian Baked Courgette with Orange, Pine Nuts and Herbs

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Stuffed vegetables have a long history. The Eastern Mediterranean has stuffed vine leaves and aubergine (eggplant) while Middle Europe stuffs cabbage and bell peppers. Usually it makes sense to push the stuffing back into the vegetable shell but it’s not compulsory and, if you prefer, some pastry (filo or puff in the case of this stuffing mixture) will do the job just as well.

Ingredients

  • 4 large courgettes (zucchini)

    For the Stuffing

  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 120 ml (4fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
  • 90g (oz/ cups) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 12 pitted green olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon small capers the juice of1 orange
  • salt and pepper

Method

To make the stuffing, fry the onion in a little of the olive oil until it starts to colour. Stir in the breadcrumbs and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the remaining stuffing ingredients and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Leave to cool.

Peel away alternate strips of skin from the courgettes. Cook the courgettes in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain them and cool under cold running water.

Halve the courgettes lengthways. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over them. Press the stuffing onto the cut halves.

Brush over any remaining olive oil then bake the courgettes in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F/Gas 6) for 20 minutes. Alternatively, grill or broil them gently until crisp.

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