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Bolognese stuffed zucchini, a traditional recipe

Stuffed Zucchini Alla Bolognese

This recipe for Bolognese stuffed zucchini has the flavor of family dishes.

In the first twenty years of my life, I ate them so often that, perhaps for a reason of cosmic balance, I cooked this dish on very few occasions in the two following decades.

Then I made peace with the absences and welcomed cooking into my life.
And I started cooking and eating them. Again.

Bolognese stuffed zucchini

Funny story about its preparation

I always considered this an easy recipe until my friend Anna told me she had tied up the zucchini.

I’ll tell you what happened.
I was writing my first cookbook, a recipe book where – together with a journalist friend – I collected the flavors of home, and those had impressed me during my travels.

I cooked non-stop for months all the recipes we were going to publish.
I asked some friends at one point to try some of the dishes in the book.

I thought stuffed zucchini (emptying, filling, and cooking) were a simple dish.

But Anna, the friend to whom I entrusted the execution of this dish, was unfamiliar with the recipe and struggled with it. That episode was enlightening.

Since then, when I write the text of a recipe, I try to describe any step.
Above all, to the automatic gestures, the ones I repeat just because I have seen them done so many times.
The same actions are unknown to those people who are not familiar with the recipe.

I still smile, thinking of those poor bound and gagged zucchini.
But this is an easy recipe. One to make and make again.

I would be sorry if, little by little, a good, traditional dish, was confused with Meghan Markle’s zucchini a la bolognese recipe.

Stuffed Zucchini Alla Bolognese

Bolognese stuffed zucchini you eat also in Romagna

Especially in the Romagna neighboring Bologna.
A border area where flavors, people, and stories mingle.

It is one of the dishes that reminds me most of Grandma Sara.
It was a dish she loved and cooked often. For the cooks of her generation, it was an easy, quick, and tasty way to bring the family to the table.

Today it is a dish reserved for special occasions or eaten in restaurants.

The recipe

In the countryside of Bologna, there is a variety of clear, short, and chubby zucchini.

This variety, or another similar, is what you need because it is easier to empty.
But you can use dark green zucchini too.

The meat filling is the same or very similar to that of tortellini. Like the filling for tortellini, mince is mixed with egg and Parmesan cheese.
The one in my house, with the addition of a little sausage, is more flavorful.

I scoop out the zucchini and set the pulp aside but don’t add it to the filling, as it changes the flavor. Nor do you add breadcrumbs. The only bread you’ll need is for the final scarpetta.

Stuffed zucchini is also excellent at room temperature. In winter, serve them warm. What? No courgettes in the winter season? True. During the summer, with the last harvest, nonna used to cook many pans of zucchini. Then, she stocks them for the winter.

Before the recipe, one last thing. After stuffing, use stuffed leftovers to make meatballs and cook them with zucchini a la Bolognese.

Buona cucina, Monica

Cook with me

I wrote HERE about the historical and culinary links between Romagna and Bologna.

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Bolognese stuffed zucchini

Bolognese stuffed zucchini recipe

serves 4
List of the Ingredients

12 zucchini (serve 3 zucchini per person)

for the filling
400 g minced pork loin
50 g sausage
50 g of minced mortadella
1 egg
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
salt and nutmeg to taste

Tomato Sauce
passata di pomodoro, 150g
water, 150 g
olive oil and fine sea salt to taste
nutmeg, to taste


Wash the zucchini and cut off the stem and blossom ends.

Scoop them out, removing the inner flesh but trying not to break the outside.
It must remain intact: leave an external thickness of about 4 mm.

In a bowl, mix the ingredients of the filling: minced meat (ask your butcher to mince the meats together), grated Parmigiano, egg, salt, and, if you like, a pinch of nutmeg.

Let it rest for some minutes, then stuff the zucchini with the filling. Use your fingers to push the filling into the courgette. If there is any filling left over, make meatballs.

In a saucepan, put olive oil and add zucchini and meatballs. Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes, turning both, then pour into the pan passata, water, and a pinch of salt.

Cook half-covered over medium-low heat on a medium or small stove for about 45 minutes, turning the zucchini halfway through cooking.

If the sauce thickens too much, add water.
Now, taste the sauce and adjust the salt if necessary (first, remove stuffed zucchini).

Bologna's recipe

Bologna's recipes

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