Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Italian Stuffed Eggplant


I had the urge to buy eggplant at the store last Saturday but I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  That is the fun part I guess when you impulse buy produce.  It was local and it looked really fresh so I couldn't resist.  The thing I love about eggplant is it is a blank palette of sorts, able to soak up whatever delicious flavors you choose to add to it.  So Sunday the question was what to make?  Eggplant parmesan sounded too heavy and bready so I decided on stuffed eggplant.  I guess I kind of wung it on this one having no recipe, which was a bit brave since I was making it for me and my boyfriend Scott who hasn't had a whole lot of exposure to eggplant.  Good thing he is always a good sport and tries my experiments along with me. 


I sauteed the inner part of the eggplant along with onions, bell peppers, garlic and Italian herbs, and combined it with cheese to make a delicious filling, then bathed it in my home made roasted tomato sauce (but in the recipe below I have just specified a can of tomatoes to make it easier on you should you choose to make it), and baked it until bubbly.  It was beautiful! 


I have to admit I was rather proud of how it looked and it smelled like a lasagna!  It was delicious as well thank goodness, a successful experiment.  I will definately be making it again if I get my hands on more eggplant before they go out of season!  It is a lot easier to make than it looks, so I would encourage you to try the recipe as well! 


Italian Stuffed Eggplant
Serves 2-4

Sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Eggplants:
2 medium eggplants
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 oz grated parmesan cheese
5 oz shredded mozzerella cheese

To make sauce, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper and saute for 30 seconds, then add balsamic, tomatoes, herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Let simmer for 20 minutes to develop flavor, then remove from heat and keep warm. 
To prepare eggplant, heat oven to 400 degrees, and line an 11x7 inch baking dish with foil.  Spray foil with spray and set aside.  Halve each eggplant lengthwise and scoop out middle of each halve leaving a 3/4 inch boarder.  Chop insides for filling.  In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and add onions.  Saute for about 5 minutes until softened and add garlic, eggplant, peppers herbs, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Saute until eggplant is very soft, another 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in 1/2 the tomato sauce, parmesan and 4 oz of the mozzerella reserving the rest for topping.  Place eggplants cut side up in dish, and stuff each with the eggplant mixture dividing evenly between the 4 halves.  Top with remaining sauce, then place in the oven and bake for about 30 min.  Add cheese after they are heated through and eggplant shells are tender and bake until it is starting to bubble another 5 minutes. Serve hot. 

7 comments:

Viviane Bauquet Farre said...

Amy, these look delicious! The ingredients are all so classic but the presentation is wonderfully novel! Truly, beautiful.

Peggy said...

Glad your experiment proved to be a success! The eggplant definitely looks mouth-watering to me =)

Joanne said...

I bet smells and tastes delicious. It sure does look fantastic.

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

This eggplant sounds wonderful!! I've never had stuffed eggplant, but everything about this looks delicious!

Shaheen said...

This is my kinda food, now I have to find some fire roasted tomatoes.

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Michelle said...

This is one of the only stuffed veggies that I have ever seen and wanted to go make... like right now. Congrats on a successful conversion! I'm sold!