It’s that time of the year again in upstate New York. The backyard garden is working overtime, which means I’m looking for yummy ways to use loads of garden produce! Just yesterday, I turned a basket of ripe blackberries into blackberry jam and a whole row of basil plants into pesto. (Don’t worry…both of those recipes will be up on Spiced soon!) Then I decided to turn my attention to zucchini. Zucchini grow incredibly well in this area, and I often end up with way more than I can use. One of my favorite zucchini recipes is simply to quarter them length-wise and throw them on the grill. Just brush them lightly with an herb-oil mixture a couple of times while they are grilling, and bam…easy, delicious side dish!
A neighbor recently told me that she always makes zucchini stew at this time of the summer and then freezes it to eat on cold, winter nights. And I thought…hey, that’s a great idea! So armed with this Rustic Zucchini Stew recipe, I set out to the garden to collect zucchini. And collect I did! (If you’ve ever grown zucchini, then you’ve probably had at least one or two grow way too big. These monster zucchinis don’t have much taste, but they work great in this stew.) The good news is this stew calls for about 3 lbs of zucchini (~4-5), so it wasn’t hard to use all of my zucchini. I actually made a double batch of this stew: half went into the refrigerator for lunches for the rest of the week and half went into the freezer for easy January dinners.
Not only is this stew incredibly tasty, but it is also quite healthy, too. In fact, the only ingredient to watch out for is the Italian sausage, but there is only 1 lb of sausage in the entire stew. (Does that mean I get to have an extra piece of chocolate cake for dessert when I eat this stew? I think yes.) I also thought it was strange that the stew didn’t call for any chicken or vegetable stock. Little did I know how much liquid would come out of the zucchini once they cooked down! I know it’s still summer and the last thing on your mind is cold, winter nights…but do yourself a favor and make a batch of this stew now. Freeze it and forget about it until January. Then wait until a particularly cold night to pull it out. All of the delicious summer flavors in this stew will help you forget the cold…well, at least for a little while!