3tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil(plus extra for drizzling)
1small onion(finely chopped)
2garlic cloves(finely chopped)
¼cupfresh basil(finely shredded)
1 ½cupsfresh ricotta
3tablespoonsfinely grated pecorino cheese(plus extra for sprinkling)
grated rind of half lemon
1large egg(lightly beaten)
salt and freshly ground pepper
For Tomato Sauce
2tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
400gcanned, peeled whole tomatoes(pureed in the blender or food processor)
salt to taste
a little sugar(if needed)
Preheat oven 400°F (200°C). Have ready one or two baking trays that will fit the zucchini halves snugly.
Cut the zucchini half. Using a teaspoon or melon baller remove the pulp from the centre. Be sure to keep the skin intact. Sprinkle the zucchini shells with a little salt. Finely chop the zucchini pulp.
Heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft but not brown about 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini pulp and cook until tender.
Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Remove from heat.
In a bowl mix together basil, ricotta, pecorino, lemon rind and egg. Add onion/zucchini mixture. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the tomato sauce return the frying pan to the heat. Into the frying pan add oil and garlic for the sauce. Fry gently until fragrant. Add the pureed tomatoes and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Pour tomato sauce into baking tray/s.
Using a small spoon filling the zucchini shells with the ricotta mixture and nestle into the tomato sauce.
Sprinkle over extra grated pecorino.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until zucchini are tender and tops are nicely browned.
if ricotta seems moist, drain in a sieve for half an hour before using
top of filling may not completely brown, if this is the case place under the griller (broiler) until nicely golden brown
these stuffed zucchini can be prepared for baking and refrigerated for up to 12 hours then baked just before serving