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Stuffed Summer Vegetable Platter
Stuffed Summer Vegetable Platter Photo courtesy of Sang An

You can’t say we haven’t tried to increase our veggie quotient this summer (you remember those soups and salads and dinners à la une). And now we’re getting our friends in on the action with a crowd-pleasing party platter. In Domenica Marchetti’s latest cookbook, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, she shares her riff on a recipe for a stuffed-vegetable dish her mother prepared each summer in Italy. It’s not a whip-’em-up-and-out dish, but we promise your guests won’t be able to resist the pull of a gorgeous platter of colorful vegetables spilling over with crunchy seasoned bread crumbs and melted cheese.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 small ripe tomatoes

4 small or 2 medium zucchini (about 12 ounces)

1 large red bell pepper

1 large yellow bell pepper

4 cups fresh bread crumbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ cup giardiniera sauce

½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2 tablespoons capers--rinsed, drained and finely chopped

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

One 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Meanwhile, slice off the tops of the tomatoes and use a melon baller to hollow out the insides. Discard the insides (or save for another use) and set the tomato shells upside down on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

2. If the zucchini are small, trim off the ends, then use a corer or the tip of a vegetable peeler to hollow out the interior, leaving the shells intact. If the zucchini are medium size, trim off the ends and cut the zucchini in half crosswise before hollowing out the interior. Set aside. Cut the red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper in half lengthwise, cutting through the stem so that each pepper half has a decorative stem. Remove and discard the seeds and white pith from the inside of the peppers. Set the peppers aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the garlic and parsley. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bread-crumb mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are pale golden and starting to crisp, about 8 minutes. Spoon the bread-crumb mixture back into the bowl and mix in the giardiniera sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, capers, sea salt and a generous grinding of black pepper until combined.

4. Put the prepared vegetables on a large cutting board. Spoon the filling into the tomatoes and peppers, and use your fingers to stuff the zucchini, taking care not to overpack them.

5. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread two-thirds of the diced tomatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the stuffed vegetables snugly in the baking dish, then spoon the remaining diced tomatoes over the top. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

6. Bake the vegetables for 1 hour or until they’re nicely browned and tender. Turn off the oven and let the vegetables sit in the oven for 15 minutes to settle. Serve the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish warm or at room temperature.

Finishing Touches

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