Last Thursday evening I was clicking through the new stories feature on Instagram. Ryan and Adam, the guys behind the blog Husbands that Cook, were creating a recipe found on the back of a grocery receipt from the 1970s. I was intrigued. What piqued my interest even more was the recipe’s name, Zucchini Houdini (Awesome, right?) and the fact that it involved stuffing cheese into zucchini. I was in.
Even as my bedtime approached, I patiently watched as the Husbands that Cook lovingly created the dish in real time. It was close to midnight, yet I was half tempted to head down to the kitchen and cook zucchini. The craving was real.
While I couldn’t stay awake long enough to see the dish come out of the oven, I did take copious notes since I knew this was a recipe I had to create. (A big shout out to Ryan and Adam for this inspiration and the recipe. Be sure to check out their blog for more deliciousness.)
Zucchini Houdini is similar to the Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats I made last year, and it’s fairly simple to make. Just hollow out several steamed zucchini, stuff them with something delicious, bake them, and enjoy! What surprised me the most about this recipe is that I (and probably many others) assumed that stuffing zucchini like this was a “new” idea. Clearly not, since folks were making them back in the 70s. It’s interesting how everything old is new again.
In this recipe, the zucchini is stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano (authentic Parmesan cheese). However, if goat cheese isn’t your thing, use cream cheese instead. In fact, according to Ryan and Adam, the original recipe called for cream cheese. (In my opinion, goat cheese is an excellent substitution.)
To start, the zucchini is steamed. This ensures that it is thoroughly cooked and soft when it comes out of the oven.
Two of the three zucchini are halved and hollowed; the remaining one is shredded. Be sure to strain the liquid after you shred the zucchini. It’s surprising how much water one zucchini has. You don’t want that liquid thinning down the cheesy goodness.
Once all of that is complete, the zucchini are stuffed with the cheese mixture and topped with panko (bread crumbs) for the best crunch and texture. After a quick bake in the oven, your Zucchini Houdini are ready.
Oh, there’s one more thing I need to tell you. Be sure to use smoked paprika. It’s different from traditional paprika and adds a nice flavor to this dish.
Here's what you will need:
3 zucchini, medium-sized
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
1 cup panko (bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Flaked sea salt to taste
Begin by steaming the zucchini for 10-15 minutes. Remove the zucchini and allow to cool.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
Slice two of the zucchini in half lengthwise. Remove the center of the zucchini halves with a melon baller or spoon. Place the zucchini halves on the prepared baking sheet, then set aside.
Grate the third zucchini. Then place the grated zucchini in a mesh strainer to remove the excess liquid. Discard the liquid and put the grated zucchini in a medium-sized bowl. Add the goat cheese, onion, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix together with a spoon to combine.
Evenly divide the goat cheese mixture among the four zucchini halves. Top evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.
In a small bowl, mix together the panko, extra virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, and flaked sea salt. Add this mixture to the top of the filled zucchini halves.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted.
Don’t they look delicious? They are. I gave a couple of these to my mom. Her review: “To die for!”
The creamy and salty cheeses work wonderfully with the almost sweet zucchini while the panko adds subtle texture. These zucchini make a great appetizer or side dish for a late summer meal during zucchini season (from garden to oven to table).
I certainly hope you give this “vintage” recipe a try. Thanks again to the Husbands that Cook for the late-night Instagram inspiration!