I love the courgette season!
Many home gardeners and allotmenteers love growing courgettes as these summer squashes are easy to look after and usually give an abundant harvest. But it’s surprising how many don’t like eating them as much as they do growing them; they give most of their bounty away. Of course, I am happy to share a few gorgeous courgettes with friends – it’s a lovely feeling giving someone home grown produce picked from the plant moments before. But Pete and I love eating courgettes so it’s very much a case of finding as many ways as possible to enjoy them while they last.
We like to grow different varieties. For many years, we’ve grown yellow spherical courgettes – they taste the same as green ones but look, they’re just so beautiful! We have also grown green balls and both green and yellow varieties of the regular baton shape. I’m thinking about planting some of the pale green or white types next year.
By the way, while we use the French word courgette, the Americans took the word zucchini from Italian, which seems appropriate since courgettes were developed in Italy after the Cucurbita genus was introduced to Europe from the Americas. That said, Americans now seem to refer to yellow courgettes by the umbrella term of summer squash rather than as yellow zucchini, I’m not really sure why.
Any courgette / zucchini variety can be used for this recipe, but it’s best to choose smaller fruits rather than large ones.
Sausage Ragu Stuffed Courgettes
Note: My photos show three halved courgettes, but we had enough leftover ragu to stuff a fourth courgette the next day. Exact portions will depend on the size of courgettes used.
Vegetable oil, for cooking
1 small onion, diced
400 grams (1 tin) chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
600 grams herby pork sausages, skin removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 small courgettes, halved and scooped out
125 grams (1 ball) fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh oregano, to garnish
Tip: Read the instructions before starting – you can prep the sausages, courgettes and mozzarella while other elements of the recipe are cooking.
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a low to medium heat, to soften.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and oregano and let the tomato sauce cook. You can peel the sausages during this time.
- Add the sausages to the tomato sauce and use the edge of a wooden spoon to break them into pieces. Continue to break the sausages down, mixing them into the tomato sauce, for the first several minutes of cooking.
- Then cover the pan and leave the ragu to cook for about an hour. During this cooking time, once the sausage is cooked through you can taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- After an hour, remove the lid and turn the heat up a little to allow the sauce to reduce – this will take about 10 to 15 minutes. You want quite a dry ragu, as the courgettes will release juices as they cook. Prepare the courgettes during this time.
- To prepare the courgettes, slice them in half and carefully scoop out the seeds and pulpy flesh from the centre. Leave a nice thick layer of flesh in the skin, and take care not to pierce the skin while you’re working.
- Preheat the oven to 160° C (fan).
- Stuff the courgettes with the ragu and pack down tightly.
- Bake the courgettes for 30 to 40 minutes until the courgettes have softened and the ragu has taken on a little colour.
- Slice the mozzarella finely and arrange over the top of each courgette half. Add a sprig of fresh oregano for decoration, if using.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the mozzarella has melted and taken on a little colour.
- Serve with your chosen side. You can see that we had some of ours with an extra dose of courgettes in the form of courgette crisps – thinly sliced, lightly floured and deep fried!
Looking for more delicious ideas for courgettes / zucchinis?
- My Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup
- My Courgette, Goat’s Cheese & Mint Frittata
- Pete’s Courgette-saka (a courgette-laden variation on moussaka)
- Mamta’s Vegetable Pakoras
- Elizabeth’s Chocolate Courgette Cake
- Elizabeth’s Spiced Tomato & Courgette Chutney
- Nazima’s Tofu and Courgette Noodle Salad
- Urvashi’s Chocolate & Courgette Brownies
- Gary’s Courgette Carbonara
- Jen’s Courgette & Chamomile Cake
- Helene’s Ratatouille
- Michelle’s Potato, Courgette & Feta Cakes with Mint
- Kellie’s Lemony Courgette Ribbons and Fine Bean Tagliatelle in Herbed Crème Fraiche
- Margot’s Pizza with Grilled Zucchinis, Bechamel and Red Onions
- Laura’s Courgette, Bean and Feta Summer Salad
- Jane Hornby’s Frosted Courgette & Lemon Cake
- BBC Good Food’s Courgette & mushroom Bread
- BBC Good Food’s Crunchy Courgette Pickle
Do you have any favourite recipes for courgettes?
If so, please do share them here – we still have lots more on the plants and I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy them!
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