Courgettes Stuffed with Tuna

I am really sorry to have been sporadic these past few days, but when you need to combine a full-time job with a part-time one, it is sometimes hard to find the time to also update your blog. Anyway, I will try to be more regular in the future.

This is a recipe which reminds me of my childhood. My grandmother still makes these, although she uses minced meat and tomato sauce for the filling rather than tuna. My mother, on the other hand, has always made them with tuna. According to this recipe, which I used as a source of inspiration (I also ditched pine nuts in favour of peanuts), this is a traditional dish from Liguria, the Italian region where Genoa is. Some of the comments on that page have outlined that the amount of ingredients required in this version of the dish would have not been available to hunger-stricken, poor Ligurians, therefore do not expect the recipe to be 100% authentic, but more of a modern take on an Italian classic.

The quantities reported below are enough to fill 6 big courgettes and have some leftover filling. You are more than welcome to use it to stuff peppers, tomatoes, onions or any other vegetables. I opted for some meatballs, but should you decide to follow my steps, then add about 100g of breadcrumbs to the mixture and give it a good night’s sleep in the fridge to firm it up a little bit.

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Ingredients

  • 6 big courgettes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of bread, better if stale
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 20g salted peanuts
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 x small tin of anchovies, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 x tins of tuna in oil/brine, drained
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Method

  1. First of all, start with the courgettes. Bring some water to the boil in a big pan, throw in some salt and add the courgettes (whole, not trimmed). Leave to gently simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly softened and wrinkled, then drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Tip the bread slices in a bowl and pour over the milk, then leave to soak until softened.
  3. In the meantime, finely chop the two onions, heat some oil in a pan, tip in the onions and cook them over a medium heat with the anchovies for about 8 minutes, until the anchovies have melted in the mixture and the onions are cooked.
  4. When the courgettes have cooled down, trim the top and bottom, then slice them in half. Carve each half to remove the flesh. You can use an ice-cream scoop, but I found using a knife was a lot easier for me. Once you have removed all of the flesh, finely chop it and add it to the onion mixture. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Using a food processor, whiz together the soaked bread, tuna, capers and peanuts until you have a very smooth mixture, then remove from the food processor and set aside.
  6. Still using the food processor (no need to wash it), tip in the onion and courgette mixture and whiz that as well. Remove to the same bowl with the tuna mixture and mix well to combine. Leave to cool down.
  7. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the two eggs and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Line a baking tray with some baking parchment, then pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  9. Lay the emptied courgette halves on the baking parchment, then fill them with the mixture. You will have some leftover. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, then bake for 30 minutes until golden and slightly scorched.

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