Meat and Poultry

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Loreto May 21, 2020

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Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (Zucchine Ripiene alla Romana). A classic dish from Rome that says nothing but flavor and texture. Did you ever think that you could core a hole through a center of a beautiful zucchini and stuff it with some incredible ground meat? Think again, I did it, and want to share my experience with you!

Song of the day: “Be Nice” by Will I Am (feat Snoop Dog)

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-in the pan

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (Zucchine Ripiene alla Romana). Beautifully stuffed zucchini seared and slowly simmered in a rich tomato sauce. If you love Italian food this is a dish for you to try. The end result, some very happy taste buds!


Couples that cook together stay together…………

I have to say that even if Nicoletta is nine thousand five hundred eighty-six kilometers away, we still inspire each other and bring light to our culture through food.

Even better is the way we work together in our little kitchen navigating like a well-rehearsed dance. I sure do miss those moments, better yet look forward to creating plenty more incredible fantastico memories cooking with Nicoletta.

Let’s cook a little Italian together!

Nicoletta was the one who told me about this dish. I was so excited because it had stuffing, anything stuffed runs high on my must-do recipe list. So what do you think I wanted to do after she told me about it? Exactly, make Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (Zucchine Ripiene alla Romana)  

There is nothing better than inviting someone into your kitchen to cook, so come along! 

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-prep

Shopping list:

  • medium zucchini
  • ground lamb
  • onions
  • garlic
  • stale rustic bread
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • fresh parsley
  • garlic and onion powder
  • paprika
  • egg
  • grated fresh parmigiana
  • milk
  • salt and pepper

It’s all about the utensil…….the utensil…….the utensil…….go figure

I bet a lot of you were wondering how did I get a hole through the center of that zucchini. Well, I am going to tell you. I used a handheld apple corer. Very carefully pushed it through the center on one side then over to the other side and did the same and look, zucchini rolls.

Hey, what do I with the core?

Oh, by the way, I cut those up and used them in a soup. You could also mince them up and put it in the stuffing.

Time to get stuffed…………..

  1. First things first, before filling these lovely veggies, we need to make the stuffing. Easy breezy, all the ingredients go into a bowl, and then it’s an all-out hands-in affair! Oh, I almost forgot, the stale bread has to be all broken up and then soaked in milk to make it soft and moist.
  2. Secondly, once you have the stuffing mixed, you can do a taste test by making a mini patty and frying it. This will enable you to season more if necessary. Plus it is so good all fried up crisp and caramelized!
  3. Thirdly, there is no neat clean way to do this. You need to hold the zucchini in one hand and then with the other push that beautifully seasoned lamb into the center until you see it bulging on the other end! Equally and likewise, fill the other end till it is coming out. A quick press and these babies are ready to sear in a hot pan!
  4. Lastly, you want to season the outside of these so they say hello to your taste buds. 

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-in the pan

You may be asking what other kinds of meat could I use?………..

You could use a blend of beef, veal, and pork, or any of those on their own. Be creative, heck you could go vegetarian and stuff them with a goat cheese stuffing. Ooooooh that sounds pretty good!

Time for the Tomatoes…………

Once the zucchini are all seared on the surface, time to pour over some crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Season again and then simmer on low heat for a bit. I took them and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. This really intensified the sauce plus cooked that stuffing in the center!

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-cut

What if I don’t have a corer?…………….

No worries, in Italy some people cut the zucchini in half, scoop out the center and fill that with the stuffing. Equally as good!

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-forkful

Oh, that aroma…………..

There is something about anything simmering in tomato sauce, just makes my mouth water. Add in that lamb and all those lovely spices, seasonings, and good ingredients, and we have the makings for an end result hunger growl!

Do you want to taste it?…………..

I bet you do want to taste it. Let’s do this. I better try it first so if it’s bad I can save you the horrible experience and all,  lol. It slices so well and a few extra scoops of sauce because I have some bread to clean my plate! Okay, here it goes…OMG, I love this. The zucchini is juicy tender and just melt in your mouth. Then out of nowhere, the stuffing comes in. Moist, well seasoned with the cheese, bread crumbs, and let’s face it, lamb cooked to perfection. The zucchini and the stuffing waltz beautifully together on my tongue and I can’t wait a minute to get the next bite in. That sauce is rich and a perfect place for my rustic Italian bread to rest well next to my stomach!

Final thoughts…………………..

I am so happy at the end result of this Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (Zucchine Ripiene alla Romana)! Thank you so much for joining me in the kitchen and cooking together. Many people love Italian food and every once in a while it is nice to surprise your family with a traditional, delicious, out of this world good Italian, well Roman to be exact, dish! 

Remember to laugh and play a lot when cooking, it fills the food with wonderful energy that will be enjoyed by the ones you love!


Song of the day: “Be Nice” by Will I Am  (feat Snoop Dog)

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-in the pan

Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: stove top/ oven
  • Cuisine: Italian


Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce (Zucchine Ripiene alla Romana). Beautiful lamb stuffed zucchini seared and slowly simmered in a rich tomato sauce. If you love Italian food this is a dish for you to try. The end result, some very happy taste buds!



The main vegetable:

  • 4 medium zucchini

The Stuffing:

  • 450 g ground organic lamb
  • 1/4 cup of minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1/2 cup of broken up one day old rustic bread
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano  Reggiano
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • Fine sea salt, fresh cracked pepper

The sauce:

  • 1 large can crushed stewed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


The zucchini:

  1. Wash and pat dry the zucchini.
  2. Hold the zucchini firmly and insert the coring tool into the center of the zucchini. Rotate back and forth slowly and you are more than half way through. Take out the coring tool and insert into the opposite end and do the same. Insert and rotate back and forth until you feel the core loosen.
  3. Pull out the core and do the same for the other 3 zucchini.


  1. In a small bowl toss in broken up day old bread. Pour in milk and let soak.
  2. In another bowl mix up ground lamb, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, grated cheese, milk soaked bread, onion and garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. mix well with  hands until all the ingredients are well blended
  3. Hold the zucchini and with your hands squish the stuffing into the hole until it starts to come out the other end. Keep stuffing until center cavity is full. squeeze both ends to firm stuffing on the end and set aside. Do the same until all zucchini are stuffed.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a oven safe  large saute pan. Heat up to a medium to high heat and place zucchini in. Sear the surface until the are seared on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in crushed tomatoes  and coat the zucchini. taste and season some more if necessary .
  4. Place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Insert a thermometer into the center of the zucchini and stuffing, it should read 160.
  5. Take out of oven and let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Cut into 1/2 inch rounds and serve with a few spoonfuls of the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle some  grated parmigiano and it is ready to serve.



  1. If you don’t like lamb you could use and ground meat you like ie. chicken, veal, beef, pork. You could even do a vegetarian version and cut up the core and blend it with the other ingredients plus some chopped up mushroom and maybe goat cheese.
  2. You may not have a corer so what you can do is cut the zucchini in half. With a spoon scoop out the center and place the stuffing in there.
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Italian Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce-forkful closeup

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  • Avatar
    Reply Vanessa May 28, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    This is one of the most delicious zucchini recipes I have come across. I always struggle trying to find new ways to prepare it when it is in season. Thanks for a great meal idea!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      You are so welcome Vanessa, we are always searching for creative recipes and adding a little of our own creativity to it. Thank you for checking this one out. Have a lot of fun making it and more so enjoying it with your loved ones!
      Have a great day!

  • Avatar
    Reply nancy #instanomss May 29, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    cool idea on zuchs and meal idea

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 30, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      Thank you! It was a lot of fun to make and so pleasureable to eat!

  • Avatar
    Reply Sean@Diversivore May 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    This is the first zucchini dish that’s actually gotten me really excited in a while. The stuffing and the tomato sauce add so much to the dish, yet the vegetable still gets to shine. Brilliant recipe, wonderfully executed! Cheers!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 1, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      Thank you Sean. I was a bit nervous punching that hole through, but it worked amazingly. A perfect vessel for all that good stuffing! So glad to get you excited about zucchini!
      Have a great day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Cynthia Priest May 31, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Wow, this is impressive. I remember getting excited when I saw this on my Facebook feed. Now I have another way to prepare zucchini which is exciting!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 1, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you Cynthia, so glad you like it. Very delicious recipe. Get some good bread to clean up the plate!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kelly Neil June 1, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Oh I love this idea and think my four year old would too. Already imagining it stuffed with goat cheese, lemon, and fresh basil… YUM!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 1, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Oooooh that sounds amazing. Making me want to get more zucchini. yum!

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