Zucchini e Peperoni

This is a delicious dish of courgettes , hollowed out, filled with red pepper and tomato sauce and baked in the oven.

Serve Zucchini e Peperoni (zoo-kee-nee ay pep-er-oh-nee) either as a light main course with rice or as a side vegetable to meat dishes.

2 red peppers, white pith removed, seeded and halved

6 large courgettes , trimmed and blanched

2 tablespoons plus

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped -2 teaspoon salt

2- teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon chopped fresh basil

2 Mozzarella cheeses, thinly sliced

Preheat the grill to high.

Place the pepper halves in the grill pan and place the pan under the grill . Grill for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin has begun to blacken and blister. Remove the pan from the grill and leave the peppers to cool.

Using a sharp knife, slice the courgettes in half lengthways and carefully remove the flesh, leaving boat-shaped shells.

Set the shells aside and chop the flesh. Remove and discard the skins from the peppers and slice the flesh into thin strips. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan. Stir in the salt, pepper and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy. Stir in the red peppers and courgettes flesh and set aside.

Preheat the oven to cool 300 F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C). Using the remaining teaspoon of oil, grease a shallow, oven-proof baking dish.

Arrange the courgettes shells, scooped-out side uppermost, in one layer in the baking dish. Put spoonfuls of the cooked tomato mixture in each shell. Arrange the Mozzarella slices over the top.

Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the courgettes are lightly browned.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and transfer the courgettes to a warmed serving dish if you are serving them hot, or leave them to cool if you are serving them cold.

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