If you have been following us for a while, you know how much we love eggplant – stuffed, fried, baked…you name it. And you might also remember that our maternal grandparents are from Sicily AND that I had a boyfriend who lived in Sicily. (Cliff notes: I got divorced, went to my mothers’ village in Sicily, met a guy, dated, ended after 3 years – story for another day :-)). THIS dish was one of the meals we ate often at a friend’s house near Taormina. Although the relationship thankfully did not last, the memory of having this dish with friends (and lots of crusty bread) around the table always makes me very, very happy. I now make it often here in the US – for friends, family and most importantly, for my sweetie, Jay.
The dish is super simple and is true comfort in a bowl – perfect for a chilly winter’s day or tucked on the couch with your best jammies. Simply make little incisions on the skin of the eggplant and stuff with the filling. In Italy, we typically stuffed with a cheese named caciocavallo but I have substituted mozzarella, as it can be difficult to find caciocavallo. (Use it if you can find it!) I sometimes toss in raisins or pignoli (pine nuts), even chopped anchovies. After a quick fry in a pan, the eggplants are left to simmer in the tomato sauce until soft and tender. Then you simply serve in a bowl with plenty of crusty bread to use as a scarpetta – a small piece of bread used to mop up the delicious sauce. Heaven on a plate ….
Enjoy – buon appetito!!
Sicilian Stuffed Eggplant: Melanzane Ammuttunate
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Simple stuffed eggplant, Sicilian style, simmered in tomato sauce – comfort food in a bowl!
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- About 6 ounces mozzarella, chopped into small cubes
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
- A few sprigs of mint
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small/medium eggplants
For the sauce:
- Olive oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few leaves of basil
Make the stuffing: Combine the garlic, mozzarella, Parmigiano together in a medium bowl. Chop a few leaves of mint and add to the mixture. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until the mixture is moist. Mix together. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Wash the eggplants and trim off the end near the stems. Cut the eggplants in half and place flesh side down on a work surface. Use a small knife to make numerous incisions in the skin. I usually make around 10 incisions all over the skin of each eggplant half – approximately 1 inch deep. Stuff each hole with the mixture (fingers work best here). Be sure to push deep into the incision so the stuffing does not come out. (You may have extra filling which can be reserved for another use.) Pour a bit of flour on a flat plate. Dip the flesh side of the eggplant in the flour to coat. Set the eggplant aside.
Prepare the sauce: Saute the onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or pan large enough to hold all the eggplant halves. When soft, add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and a few leaves of basil. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
In a large frying pan, add a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the eggplant halves, flesh /flour side down, and fry until brown, about 5 minutes. Once brown, add the eggplant halves to the prepared sauce. When all the eggplant is added to the sauce, cover and allow to simmer over low heat until soft – about 25-20 minutes. (I like to turn the eggplants occasionally as they are cooking.) Once the eggplants are soft and tender, remove to a serving dish and spoon the sauce on top. Serve with plenty of Parmigiano and crusty bread for dipping. Buon appetito!
I want to love this recipe, but it is lacking in that it does not adequately show what the incisions are supposed to be like. A photo would be great or at least a description of the size and depth of the incisions and how many there are suppose to be.
Thanks for the great recipes!
Many thanks, Paul, for the great feedback! I will add some descriptions.. always appreciate these types of comments as it helps us improve. Grazie!!
Thanks for this recipe. It is like no other for stuffed eggplant that I have seen. When are you writing a cook book? I could so see that, peppered with amazing photos and stories!
Grazie, Mary Susan!!
Thanks for the recipe…
You are very welcome, Joe! Buona giornata…Michele