Eight-ball zucchini is a round, softball-sized variety of summer squash. You can find it at farmers' markets, or purchase it from specialty produce purveyors such as Frieda's (www.friedas.com). This recipe is equally delicious when made with the more commonly found long, slender zucchini squash.
1 (1-ounce) slice French bread, torn into small pieces
6 eight-ball zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
8 basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, peeled and quartered (about 5 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Set aside.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Set pulp aside. Steam zucchini shells, covered, 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, cut sides down, on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels.
Place zucchini pulp in food processor; process until finely chopped. Spoon into a bowl. Place spinach, basil, garlic, and onion in food processor; process until finely chopped.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini pulp, tomato, and salt; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs.
Fill each zucchini half with about 2 1/2 tablespoons zucchini mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with parsley, if desired.