Stuffed courgettes

This is recipe for stuffed courgettes is based on an Italian recipe which is perfect for this time of the year. The Italians are very resourceful cooks and make sure they use up leftover food when they can. In this recipe you can use up leftover breadcrumbs, meat and cheese. Stuffed courgettes makes a wonderful, nutritious mid week summer meal which is delicious served with cubes of potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven at the same time.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the stuffed courgettes

8 medium sized courgettes

100 g sourdough / gluten free bread crumbs

2 tbsp chopped herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, tarragon

100 g lean minced beef or back bacon (optional)

2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese ad a little extra for serving

2 eggs, beaten

Sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil to drizzle

Quick tomato sauce

200 ml passata

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 bay leaf

pinch of dried oregano

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways. Cut a V shape along the length of each courgettes half and gouge out the seeds with the point of a teaspoon. This forms an indent for the filling. Place the courgettes on a baking tray and set to one side. Discard the courgette seeds.

Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the egg. Mix the ingredients together well and gradually add enough beaten egg to form a stiff mixture. If you are making a vegetarian version of this stuffing - leave out the meat and add another tablespoon of grated cheese.

Fill the courgettes with the filling and don't worry if any of the filling spills over onto the baking tray.

Cover the baking tray and courgettes with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Insert a pointed knife into the courgettes to check they are cooked. If not return the tray to the oven for a few more minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes or until the filling begins to brown.

While the courgettes are baking make this simple tomato sauce. Fry the sliced garlic in a little oil until golden brown. This flavours the oil with garlic. Remove the garlic flesh from the oil and discard. Remember the flesh of garlic can cause symptoms in some people.

Add the passata, bayleaf and dried oregano and seasoning and cook gently for about 10 minutes until a thick sauce has formed.

Serve the stuffed courgettes with the tomato sauce and diced potato baked in the oven at the same time as the courgettes. The courgettes are also lovely with rice - either brown or white.