Kate Johnson: ‘I forgot to lock the car door stuffed zucchini’ (recipe)

A few weeks ago, I had my good friend say she wanted to share a few butternut and acorn squash that her neighbor had grown. I was thrilled with her generosity, as I have gardened for many years and have only had a few truly good years with regard to winter squash production.

When I heard her pull up in the driveway, I went out to meet her and I observed her carrying squash in both hands and a HUGE zucchini under one arm. And so, this week I decided to share my recipe for “Oops, I Forgot to Lock the Car Door Stuffed Zucchini.”

This is a good recipe to use up any excess produce you have in the fridge – you can add many other fresh chopped or grated garden items like carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, etc. If you cannot use the entire zucchini, then simply shred, or spiral it up and freeze it for later use.


1 large zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1-pound mushrooms quartered

1-pound sausage (pork or turkey)

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1⁄2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

1⁄2 teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon red peppers

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon rosemary

5 fresh tomatoes (or 14 oz can)

1⁄8 cup cream sherry

1 cup cheese (I used a parmesan combination with jack cheese)


Cut the zucchini lengthwise and hollow out all seeds and spongy flesh. Set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté until well browned. At the same time, bring a large frying pan full of water to a boil and add the fresh tomatoes, allowing them to boil for approximately 2 minutes on each side. Place in cold water or allow to cool, and peel and chop them into 1-inch pieces.

After the mushrooms are done browning, add the tomato paste and the spices and cook for several minutes to get the seasonings well distributed. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for several minutes until thickened. Add the cream sherry and cook for 2-3 more minutes, then remove from heat.

Spoon into the zucchini and bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Remove foil, add cheese, and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Kate Johnson is a longtime resident of Carson City. She is an avid gardener, cook, musician, and lover of dogs.


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