Simple stuffed eggplant, Sicilian style, simmered in tomato sauce – comfort food in a bowl!
For the sauce:
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!