Stuffed Eggplant

A recipe taken from my cookbook:
Ricette di Maria – Maria’s Recipes

This was considered by many to be my mother’s best recipe, her signature dish, and the one she could never make often enough.

Part of the gourd family, along with cucumbers, zucchini and squash, eggplant is such an underrated vegetable. It can be roasted and added to soups or used in classic Caponata or Ratatouille, or pureed and seasoned for Babaganoush. It can be grilled, fried, braised or stewed, and in this recipe you will boil, pan roast, stuff and bake it!

4 small eggplants about ½ pound each
1-cup Italian breadcrumbs
1-cup day old bread softened in water or milk and squeezed of liquid
2 cups tomato sauce
6 slices prosciutto or pancetta, chopped or ½ cup cooked ground pork
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Italian Parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Olive oil

                     Serves 4 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start a pot of water to boil.
  2. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out meat of eggplant leaving a ½ inch thick shell. Chop eggplant meat.
  3. Add eggplant shells to boiling water and cook 3 minutes and strain.
  4. After shells are cooled, squeeze out excess water and set them aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1-tablespoon olive oil and when skillet begins to smoke, add eggplant meat and cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup tomato sauce and remove from heat.
  6. This step can be done in a bowl or in the same skillet. Combine eggplant and tomato sauce mixture with breadcrumbs, pork, softened bread, 1 cup Parmesan, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Coat bottom of eggplant halves with a bit of tomato sauce and stuff with mixture. Top with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  8. Coat an oven-proof baking dish with tomato sauce and olive oil and place the stuffed eggplants in the baking pan. Add 1 cup of water and bake for 45 minutes, or until eggplant are cooked through.
  9. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan.
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