Vegetarian stuffed eggplant

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PRESENTATION

Recipe by
Francesca Meucci

Eggplants are among the most popular vegetables in Mediterranean cuisine due to their delicate flavor, which goes well with many ingredients. Just to stay in the context of Italian cuisine, how can we not mention the traditional eggplant parmigiana, swordfish and eggplant bites or cannelloni with eggplant? But eggplants are also excellent for being emptied and filled with simple ingredients that we always have in the fridge, which enhance their natural flavor: as in the vegetarian stuffed eggplant, where these vegetables are stuffed with the pulp of the eggplants themselves, a few cherry tomatoes, capers and olives. Thanks to a little breadcrumbs, after baking you will get a crunchy and inviting crust, while the filling will remain soft and tasty.

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INGREDIENTS
Eggplant 2 lbs (900 g)
Cherry tomatoes 10.5 oz (300 g)
Salted capers 2 tbsp
Gaeta olives 2.5 oz (75 g) - pitted
Garlic 1 clove
Breadcrumbs 2 tbsp
Basil 6 leaves
Extra virgin olive oil 6 tbsp
Salt 1 pinch
Preparation

How to prepare Vegetarian stuffed eggplant

To prepare vegetarian stuffed eggplant, first wash and dry the eggplants; then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp with a corer or teaspoon, leaving about a quarter inch (5 mm) of pulp intact near the skin. Coarsely chop the pulp thus obtained with a knife and set aside.

Lightly salt the inside of the eggplants and dress them with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil; place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking. Take them out and let them cool.

In the meantime, prepare the filling: wash and dry the cherry tomatoes, then cut them into pieces. Desalt the capers by placing them in a colander and rinsing them abundantly under cold water; coarsely chop them with a knife.

In a large pan, heat 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and brown the peeled garlic clove over low heat. Then add the pulp of the eggplants and the cherry tomatoes, salt and sauté over high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the eggplants are soft. Turn off the stove and remove the garlic clove.

Transfer the contents of the pan into a bowl and add the pitted olives, the chopped capers, the chopped basil leaves and the breadcrumbs. Stir well with a spoon to mix the ingredients and use the mixture to stuff the eggplant shells.

Place the vegetarian stuffed eggplants on the baking tray lined with baking paper and season them with a drizzle of oil, then bake them at 356°F (180°C) for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.

You can serve the vegetarian stuffed eggplant warm or at room temperature.

How to store

You can keep the stuffed eggplants in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

Advice

You can also add grated Parmesan or cubes of provola to the filling of the eggplants.

In addition to basil, you can also flavor the dish with mint or marjoram.

If you cannot find Gaeta olives for this recipe, you can use Greek olives instead.