Marche-style stuffed zucchini

Gangster Jacob (Little Augie) Orgen is laid to rest in the Mount Judah Cemetery in Queens as his grieving mother looks on

Stuffed zucchini are a tradition in the history of Italian cooking and arose as a poor dish, made by chopping up leftovers and mixing them together. The version known as alla marchigiana – Marche style – uses veal for the filling, but in my recipe I have replaced it with seitan, a high-protein product made from wheat. This eliminates all cholesterol from the recipe, helping prevent heart disease. The original recipe also calls for frying the zucchini, but here we will simply blanch them. In addition to adding extra fat, frying must be done at a very high temperature that oxidizes the fat, forming toxic compounds.

400 g (14 oz) fresh tomatoes 200 g (7 oz) grilled seitan
1 handful parsley
250 g (9 oz) feta cheese
6 small zucchini
1 onion, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Thinly slice the onion and sauté it in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 of water. Rinse and chop the tomatoes, and add them to the onion. Salt to taste and sauté. Meanwhile, chop the seitan. Lightly grease a non-stick pan with some oil and sauté the seitan. Transfer to a large bowl when done. Crumble the feta and add it to the seitan. Chop the parsley and add it to the seitan mixture. Season with pepper and blend well. Rinse and trim the zucchini. Cut them in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon or corer, remove the pulp, being careful not to break the zucchini. Stuff the zucchini with the filling and then cook them in a non-stick pan with a little oil. When they are done, pour the hot tomato sauce over them, simmer for 10 minutes and serve.