Many years ago I wrote the main food article of the food section for our local newspaper. My favorite articles to write were when I interviewed people who traveled the world to cook and eat.
One such woman I wrote about attended a cooking class with Lorenza dé Medici at her home, Badia a Coltibuono, an 11th Century monastery, estate, and winery, in Tuscany. (There is no longer a cooking school, just their wines and olive oils are sold from the website.)
If I remember correctly, she spent a quite a few days in the spacious kitchen learning Tuscan specialties, using ingredients purchased at the local market. What an experience.
In the evenings all of the attendees and the Signora enjoyed the prepared food and locally grown wine. And because of that experience, I was exposed to Lorenza dé Medici and her many cookbooks.
I’ve posted on one recipe by Lorenza dé Medici from her Antipasti cookbook – Crostini al Tonno – but this Stuffed Zucchini recipe is from The Villa Table, published in 1993.
This recipe was posted years ago, but I needed to re-do the photos!
Courgettes Stuffed with Ham
Zucchine Ripiene al Prosciutto
6 medium zucchini (I recommend only 3 medium)
5 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces cooked ham, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Cut off and discard both ends of the zucchini. Using an apple corer, scoop out the pulp from the centers, leaving both ends intact, to make the hollow of the boat.
I also let the zucchini boats rest on paper towels to collect moisture.
In a bowl beat the eggs. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, butter, and chopped ham. Mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a small frying pan. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Stuff the zucchini with the mixture. Pour the oil and 2 tablespoons of water into an ovenproof dish and arrange the zucchini in it.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
I sprinkled the stuffed zucchini with chopped Italian parsley and a little flaked salt.
Enjoy as a side, or as a meal!
And personally, I loved the white pepper instead of black!
Simple yet divine! I always enjoy stuff zucchinis with different kinds of fillings. Yours with ham looks very yummy and full of flavours.
It’s light yet still satisfying. Could be a dinner for me!
I love serving little zucchini boats! This one looks really delicious!
It’s a great recipe. So many variation possible, of course, but I love this authentic Tuscan version.
Apparently Marcella Hazan also had the same recipe (almost): here is a link to a post by Diane Darrow. I saw the link and had a go myself at making these ‘boats’. Call me old-fashioned, but I love them! And yours look so pretty too! https://dianescookbooks.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/baked-stuffed-zucchini-boats/
Wasn’t Marcella Emiglio Romano? And Ms de Medici Tuscany? I have no idea how far they are from each other, but i imagine there’s lots of overlap. My mother stuffed zucchini and she isn’t Italian! But it seems like no matter what you stuff zucchini with, they’re fabulous! Nice to see you!
Looks delicious. My kind of recipe! :)
Yeah, these are really wonderful!
These look marvelous, Mimi! Such simple ingredients create a tasty dish – of course it’s from Italy! I used to drink a lovely (and bargain-priced!) Chianti from Badia a Coltibuono! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Love zucchinis and since it is grilling season I am going to adapt it to cooking on my grill. I will use prosciutto as I always have some in my fridge or freezer!
Such an important ingredient to keep around! I like cubed pancetta, too!
I haven’t done this for years, thanks for the reminder. We were meant to stay on a Tuscan olive and wine farm last year which offered cooking classes. I hope they still do by the time we go back.
Fingers crossed for you. We stayed at an agriturismo in Umbria years ago that was a vineyard with olive trees. While we sampled wine we could see Tuscany in the distance!
I do adore cooking classes in other countries as there is so much to learn. This recipe looks delicious!
I’ve never done one. I’ve never done one in the US, either. I’ve taught them… maybe that’s why I’m hesitant. But I did visit Stephane outside of Bordeaux and we went to many many markets and cooked meals in his kitchen. That was a kind of immersion, although I didn’t do that much work! But it was nice to see ingredients in person that I don’t have where I live. the markets are my favorite part, I think.
I’m so inspired by this recipe, Mimi. I’ve made zucchini a million ways, but never stuffed. And it’s something everyone in my family likes. It’s really beautiful. Sounds like a really fun writing job you had – I would love to interview people about food and travel. I’m always asking everyone about those things. (And I love the red & white plates — they’re so pretty!) :-) ~Valentina
Thanks, Valentina. It was a great job while it lasted. The one good thing about living in a small town is that you can be a big fish in a little pond, as they say. I got lots of experiences I couldn’t have in a big city. Stuffed zucchini really is wonderful.
Wow, what an awesome experience to be able to live and cook in Tuscany for an extended period of time. I’m just counting the days (well, more than days…but you know what I mean) until we can travel back to that region. I love Tuscany! I keep meaning to try some stuffed zucchini recipes, but I never seem to get around to it. This version sounds fantastic, though, and I’m going to keep it in mind for when our garden starts sending out more zucchini than I can use!
What a beautiful and flavourful dish! We adore zucchini and tuna. I’m definitely going to try these! They look so pretty too.
Thanks Eva. Stuffed zucchini are heavenly.
Zucchinis are gift from heaven ! Everything made with them is just amazing ! I have to try this version since I don’t boil them before stuffing.
I don’t think the boiling is the only option, but it’s an interesting way to soften them! They are a gift from heaven, you’re right!!!
I LOVE stuffed zucchini! Okay, so I love all zucchini; roasted, baked, stewed, raw, you name it! The simple combination of savory flavors sounds lovely right about now, though.
I agree! I love it raw in salads. It might be a bit under appreciated…
I love zucchini, and this recipe looks delicious! Thank you!
You are so welcome!
This looks amazing! Never had made something like this on a zucchini only with other vegetables. Love this recipe
Oh, you’ll love it!
What an elegant and delicious dish Mimi! I could eat a plate of this stuffed zucchini right now. And talk about a dream job! So fascinating and inspiring to hear about all these amazing places and foods.
It was really fun. After that I wrote for some magazines, but then really had to stop, because my children were small and required all of my time. A great experience, though.
This looks and sounds wonderful! The combination of flavours and textures is lovely. Also, interesting step with boiling the zucchinis prior to stuffing and roasting. I’ll need to try this method, too!
I’d never seen this method before I first used this recipe. It works so well. But you also can’t forget about them!!!
I haven’t had stuffed zucchini in years! And I’m not sure if I’ve ever made it — don’t remember doing so. Time to begin! Nice recipe — thanks.
It’s so good. I’d eat it as a meal!
i love zucchini and this looks so delicious mimi. yep definitely good for a main meal i reckon.
Definitely. Or a side. Or, just eat two halves!
Stuffed zucchinis are the best! When my garden explodes in the summer with zucchini then I’m always stuffing them! This looks terrific!
I love to make zucchini pancakes/fritters to when I have that kind of explosion. fingers crossed that this summer’s garden will behave!
I was a big fan of Lorenza de’ Medici back in the day. And still have a few of her cookbooks, too, though not the one you mention. This dish does sound lovely. And it looks lovely, too! Stuffed zucchini are delicious but they’re not easy to photograph. As they say in Italian, complimenti!
Thank you Frank. I wish I could have met her at her Badia! What an experience. I never thought about these being hard to photograph, because I’m totally befuddled every time I go to photograph whatever I’ve cooked! It’s still really hard for me!
Wow, complimenti! I need to try and find Lorenza’s cookbooks! My daughter’s name is “Lauren” and it’s nice to hear the Italian translation of her name. This sounds absolutely divine, especially now when it is so much more in season (Zuchhini) Your photo step by step instructions are so helpful Mimi! Thank you!
thank you Roz! Her books are wonderful. I hope you can find them still.