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Melanzana Ripiene alla Siciliana -- Stuffed Eggplant, Sicilian Style


2:00 prep
3:30 total

Eggplant like you never tasted

Time

prep 2:00       total 3:30

Yield

Ingredients

Ingredients

4 sm. Italian Eggplants (1-2 lb. total)
1/2 cup uncooked Aborio rice
3 slices firm white bread torn in 1 inch pieces
1/4 whole milk (Skim or
non fat will also work fine)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lg. eggs, slightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped (use less if dried basil)
1 tsp. each, salt and pepper
2 cups Olive Oil (for frying)
1 to 1 1/2 quarts, Italian Tomato Sauce (Check my recipes for Salsa Pomodoro)

Instructions

Place tomato sauce in a 2 qt sauce pan and keep warm until needed. Bring a 6 quart pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, prick the eggplant all over, using a fork. Keep the stem end of the eggplant in place. Place the pierced eggplants in the boiling water and boil until tender, and easily pierced with a fork. About 20-25 minutes. Remove eggplants from water and place in a colander for about 15 minutes to drain and cool off. When cool, slice eggplants in half, lengthwise, through the stem end. Scoop out the center of the eggplant (and reserve) leaving approximately a quarter inch of eggplant flesh all around. Place the scooped out eggplant shells aside. Chop the reserved eggplant flesh finely and place in a bowl. Cook the Aborio rice according to directions. Allow to cool slightly and add to the bowl of eggpant. Soak the torn bread in the 1/4 cup of milk. Squeeze out excessive milk and place the milk soaked bread in the bowl with the eggplant and rice. Add to the bowl of eggplant, the garlic, eggs, cheese,parsley, basil and 1/2 tsp of the salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients in the bowl. Use the remaing salt and pepper by sprinkling it into the eggplant shells. Firmly pack about a 1/3 cup or so of the eggplant mixture into each of the eggplant shells. You can mound the stuffing slightly, but not much. Pack it firmly. You will have some stuffing left over. Heat about an inch or so of the olive oil in a non reactive pot, to a temperature of 320 degrees. Working in batches of 2 eggplant halves, lower the first two halves into the hot oil, stuffing side up. Turn and brown the other side. When nicely browned, remove from oil and place on absorbent paper towels, stuffing side up, to drain. Fry the remaining eggplant halves. In a deep baking dish pour the tomato sauce to a depth of about an inch or so. Place eggplant in the dish, stuffing side up, and cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees until the tomato sauce begins to bubble. (About 25 minutes.) Serve hot.

Author's Comments

This was truly a company dish. No matter how many times we might ask for it, it would not be made unless we had company over! You have to boil . . . then fry . . . then finally bake the eggplan. It was very time consuming. When we did make them at our house, they were usually made the day before and refrigerated. Then on the day we needed them, they were removed from the refrigerator, brought to room temperature and baked just before eating them. This way they came to the table piping hot! I can remember 4 or 5 baking dishes full of eggplant ready to be served to our guests.

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