|Savor Chef Rudy's Supernatural Zucchini|
Published: Friday, 28 October 2011 01:16
C'era Una Volta chef Rudy Duran and Weezie Mott prepared Tuscan specialities at the Weezie Mott Cooking School.
In my Nonna Kate's beautiful Broadway Victorian kitchen, every day was Halloween, because Nonna was a little "oohbahtz" (crazy). She talked to her fridge, her stove, her little Wards Airline table radio and even to her marinara and Bolognese sauces, which she made by the gallon.
Nonna was a supernaturalist, and in her version of reality, the universe was pervaded by a single consciousness, an all-encompassing wisdom that expressed and empowered all that exists via its intent. To Nonna, everything in the universe was intelligent and sacred: humans, animals, plants and inanimate objects, including her sauces and her fridge.
Thus, it was no surprise late one morning when I entered Nonna's kitchen to find her standing there, clad in her old blue housedress, and with her neat bun of blue-gray hair, talking to her fridge. She was enjoying what she called her "breakfast of champions": a Kent cigarette, and a big tumbler full of Carlo Rossi Red Mountain Burgundy, the "Nectar of Life."
She patted the 'fridge affectionately and said, "Old Norgey, you are my goombah, my boyfriend, mi amoré, my love. You are faithful, trustworthy, kind and good."
I had to interject. "Nonna, you talk nicer to the Norge than you talk to me. You never call it a googootz (dumb kid) or a scah-footz (air-head). It's not fair!"
With a Kent dangling from her lips and its ashes wafting to the floor, Nonna turned to me and said "You know, Spiffaroo, I figure that you and the fridge are like twins. You're always in the kitchen, you look alike: big, hulking, heavy and blocky; sometimes you smell; you're always making some weird noise; and almost all the food in the house winds up inside of one of you. So why would I treat either of you different?"
It was impossible to argue with Nonna's truths, so in an act of sibling harmony, I opened the Norge, removed a platterful of Nonna's supernaturally good stuffed zucchini, then patted the fridge on its ample side and said "Right on, my brutha!"
Speaking of supernaturally good stuffed zucchini, at a recent Weezie Mott cooking school class, celebrity chef Rudy Duran of Alameda's fabled C'era Una Volta Ristorante and Wine Bar, prepared a Tuscanstyle stuffed zucchini that reached a transcendent state of savory goodness that can only be accessed by chefs who have true passion for their cooking. That passion, as Nonna knew, imparts a supernatural vitality to the tastes of the food. Chef Rudy has that passion.
The always-affable Chef Rudy was kind enough to share his supernaturally good recipe.
Chef Rudy's Zucchini Stuffed With Mushrooms and Sausage
6 medium zucchini
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
4 ounces Cremini mushrooms
4 ounces Gorgonzola
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 handful parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, then cut zucchini in half lenghthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds from the zucchini. In a large pot, blanch the zucchini in hot salted water for three minutes. Drain, and transfer the zucchini to a plate.
Clean and coarsely chop the mushrooms and parsley leaves.
Mix together with the sausage, eggs, gorgonzola and bread crumbs.
Season with salt and pepper. Fill each zucchini half with this mixture and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. When all the zucchini halves have been filled, place in the oven for 20-30 minutes.