Weekend cooking project: stuffed eggplants
Stuffed vegetables are a reassuring presence: they can be prepared in advance and baked in the oven while you are taking care of something else...
Stuffed vegetables are a reassuring presence: they can be prepared in advance and baked in the oven while you are taking care of something else, from writing to playing with your children, from gardening to cleaning the mess you made during the day.
There’s an unwritten rule in my family when it comes to stuffing vegetables: eggplants call for ground beef, bell peppers for white rice and cheese, tomatoes for breadcrumbs and fresh herbs, and zucchini for canned tuna, breadcrumbs, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Melanzane ripiene – Stuffed eggplants
This is a recipe that belongs to my cooking repertoire.
It is important to bake the empty eggplant shells before stuffing them because it avoids that awful squishy feeling of uncooked eggplants, which comes as a close second to overcooked beef steak.
I chose a stuffing of ground beef and sausages, but you can also use the same amount of beef and pork ground meat. As for the cheese, after years of loyal use of pecorino, I just fell in love with the depth of flavour of aged provolone, a fabulous spicy and biting cheese from the South of Italy which you should add to your top ten of things to try at least once in your lifetime.
Do not skip the tomatoes and the onions: even though you can perfectly bake stuffed eggplants in a tray with just a drizzle of olive oil, they become a caramelized sauce that marries beautifully the slightly smoked eggplant taste.
Find the recipe for these stuffed eggplants on the blog.
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More stuffed vegetable recipes from the blog archive
Tuna-stuffed round zucchini. The secret is using part of the zucchini pulp for the filling, chopped and sautéd with olive oil and garlic, as it adds moisture to the tuna and breadcrumb mixture.
Rice stuffed bell peppers. Use rice, a neutral base that can be varied as desired with some ingredients that give character and flavour to the dish, in this case, pancetta, fresh pecorino, and grated aged pecorino.
Tuna and bread stuffed carrots. This recipe is an ode to good housekeeping, to those women that can bring to the table a dish that fills the eyes and the belly with the few ingredients you can find in your kitchen on a Thursday morning (do you happen to go shopping on Friday afternoons and find your fridge crying in emptiness on Thursdays, right?)
Stuffed green peppers. These peppers come in the late summer and are wisely filled with leftovers, with what is left in the house after the heath of the summer months. The poor version is made only with stale bread, capers and some anchovy fillets, nothing more. Over time, the technique has been refined, and you end up putting into the stuffing tuna, some pickles and a generous handful of green and black olives.
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