14.5oz candiced tomatoes(drained and juices reserved)
1large egg(whisked, or 4 tablespoons liquid egg whites)
2sweet Italian turkey sausage links(~4oz each)
1largezucchini(or 2 medium)
Crushed red pepper(to taste)
Salt and pepper(to taste)
¼cupchopped parsley(optional, to garnish)
Preheat Oven to 375°F
Prep the Zucchini
Cut the zucchini(s) in half, and scoop out the seedy flesh inside. You should still have about 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh (without seeds) left.
For a faster final cook time, see notes.
Brown the sausage, stirring well while it cooks so it breaks into small pieces.
If you'd like a little spice, add crushed red pepper to the sausage while it is cooking.
While the sausage is browning...
In a small sauce pan, saute the diced onion with a pinch of salt until it starts to turn transparent (not cooked all the way through). If using diced carrots and celery, add them in to saute with the onion as well.
Add the garlic, and stir about 30 seconds.
Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
Stir often, adding in reserved juice from the diced tomatoes to keep the mixture a thick, saucy texture.
While cooking the tomato sauce, season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until it tastes good :)
Cook until the tomatoes are softened, and you can smash them slightly. You also want a "cooked" tomato flavor to come through.
Stir in the arugula, and cook just until wilted.
Add in the egg white (or egg), along with the browned sausage.
Stir in quickly so as to get the egg mixed in well. (You are just using the egg for a little extra binding/thickening, so you don't want it to cook and scramble, as would happen if you were to pour it into the pan and let it cook before mixing into the sauce.)
Fill and Bake
Scoop the tomato/meat filling into the zucchini halves.
Place into a baking dish with a small amount of water at the bottom.
Cover with foil, and bake at 375°F until the zucchini is tender when poked with a fork. If using a large zucchini, this takes about 50 minutes.
Uncover, top with Parmesan, and continue baking until cheese is melted and browned, about 5 minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
Let cool slightly, and serve!
For a faster final cook time:
Prep the zucchini about an hour ahead: Slice in half lengthwise, score the flesh, sprinkle with salt, and let drain in a colander in the sink. After about an hour, rinse well and pat dry. This salting step is optional, but helps get some moisture out of the zucchini so that it will cook up faster.
After rinsing, pre-bake the zucchini in the oven while you are cooking the sauce. Once the sauce is ready, pull the zucchini from the oven, scoop out any seedy pith from the center, fill with the meat sauce, and return stuffed zucchini to the oven to finish baking as instructed.
If your zucchini is already soft, and the meat sauce is hot, then you can just top off with the cheese and final broiling step, and you are ready to serve!