A nicely roasted round zucchini filled with a homemade Tomato Sauce topped with a smooth Bechamel served on pasta to have a different twist to a simple pasta dish.
When it’s season again for those nice little round zucchinis/courgette, I’m the first one in line to buy them! They are fantastic, you just fill them up with any kind of fillings and set them on top of rice, quinoa or in this case pasta, they are so adaptable. Who doesn’t like a good “ratatouille style” pasta sauce? The format is different but the idea is the same, and the only difference is… I made a thick béchamel on top and passed it under the grill, to make it extra smooth. Instead of béchamel on top, you can add in some nice fresh mozzarella in the last minutes of cooking, or nothing at all.
Homemade Express Tomato Sauce
For this recipe, I’ve done an Express Homemade Tomato Sauce, plain and simple with onion, garlic and tomatoes. This Express Tomato Sauce is made with a Spanish twist, at the end I’ve added a “picada” which is a fresh paste made of parsley, garlic, salt and olive oil. Of course, if you are a busy bee you can cut this extra time and use a premade tomato sauce of your choice or even a Bolognese sauce or why not a nice seafood chowder… (click here to check out my Creamy Chicken Stuffed Round Courgette)
A great recipe for MeatLess Mondays or anyone who seeks a nice fulfilling way for eating vegetarian. The first cut down the round zucchini bring out most of that delicious tomato sauce which then go merge into the white spaghetti. A new fun way to eat pasta!
Here is how to make those flavourful and fun little bombs or flavors.
Zucchinis filled with tomato sauce
Makes 4 portions | Preparation: from 30 minutes (without making the tomato sauce and Bechamel) to 1h30 | Difficulty: Easy
- 4 round zucchinis
- 250g pasta, or rice
- white pepper, salt
- 1bs extra-virgin olive oil
*Could use a pre done Tomato Sauce
- 13 peeled tomatoes
- 3 onions small cubes
- 3 garlic cloves
- laurel leaf, thyme, salt, pepper
*ALTERNATIVE* fresh Mozzarella
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 tbsp of gruyere, old cheddar cheese
- nutmeg, white pepper, salt
Step one | The tomato sauce
- Cut onion in small cubes and soften in olive oil at low temperature until translucent, not brown (10-15 min)
- Peel the tomatoes, cut in cubes
- Add garlic to onion a few minutes before the tomatoes
- Add tomatoes and spices and simmer until the sauce gets a good consistency, about 30 minutes
- In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the picada (garlic, olive oil, flat-leaved parsley)
Step two | Preparation of the zucchinis
*Bring oven to 180°C (350F)
- Wash and cut off the top, then scoop out the inside
- Spray a little olive oil on them, then sprinkle on salt and pepper
- Add the tomato sauce
- Put them in the oven at 180°C (350F), with the cut-off tops upside down, for 25 minutes
*During that time make the béchamel and cook the pasta.
Step three | The béchamel
*optional, could be replaced by fresh mozzarella
- In a really small pan, melt the butter
- Add the flour and cook medium heat until it smells nutty, (approx. 1 minute)
- Add the cold milk, nutmeg, salt and white pepper and bring to a slow boil. Keep mixing until it gets nice, thick consistency
- Add cheese, mix well
Step four | The grand finale
- Take the zucchinis out of the oven, then add the béchamel on top
- Grill them in the oven, and keep checking on them up until light brown top (Top heat grill: approx. 3 minutes)
- Add your cooked pasta or rice to a plate with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper top it with the stuffed round zucchini.
*NOTE* Mix the rest of the béchamel and tomato sauce for later… Makes a smooth tomato sauce!