Meatball-Stuffed Summer Squash

Mains, Recipes

If you buy your squash at the farmers’ market, choose a variety of shapes and colors—it will make this dish quite striking. You’ll likely have some stuffing left over. Use it to make meatballs or a small meatloaf.


Meatball-Stuffed Summer Squash




  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed, plus 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 5 to 7 Tbs. (3 to 3.5 fl. oz./80 to 110 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 mixed summer squash (long and round shapes and green and yellow), about 4 1/2 lb. (2 kg) total weight
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) ground beef
  • 1 cup (2 oz./60 g) fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. half-and-half



1. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).


2. In a bowl, combine the crushed garlic, tomatoes and juice, and 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and stir to blend. Set aside.


3. Cut the ends off the long squash. Cut the top off the round squash and, if necessary, a sliver off the bottom so they stand upright. Using a corer, carefully hollow out a tunnel through the long squash. Using a melon baller or corer, carefully scoop out the inside of the round squash. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Set aside.


4. In a bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, cheese, chopped garlic, parsley, egg, half-and-half, 1 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper and mix thoroughly. Using your fingers or a small spoon, fill the squash cavities with the meat mixture; do not pack them too tightly as the filling will expand during roasting.


5. Lightly oil a large baking dish or 2 smaller dishes. Spoon a layer of the tomato mixture on the bottom of the prepared dish. Arrange the squash in the dish so they fit snugly. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the squash and drizzle the remaining 2 to 4 Tbs. olive oil on top. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until the squash is very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.


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Find more recipes like this one in our enticing collection of authentic dishes made modern, Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti.







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Meatball-Stuffed Summer Squash
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  1. Plum Almond Cake

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