Here's a delicious, light, vegetarian eggplant dish, especially good if topped with a homemade tomato sauce (sugo).
- Prep Time : 40-45 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- Yield : 6
- glossy black eggplants - 3 medium, cut in half lengthways
- cooking salt
- olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- green onions (shallots) - 6 - 8, finely sliced
- garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
- fresh full fat ricotta - 600g
- homemade basil pesto - 2 -3 tablespoons
- free range or organic egg - 1
- freshly grated parmesan - 100g
Score the flesh of the eggplants into squares, then remove the flesh with a small spoon. Be careful not to damage the skins as they are the containers for the filling.
Chop the flesh into cubes (about 3cm square), put in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes to drain. Sprinkle inside the skins with salt, turn upside down and leave to drain on the sink 10 – 15 minutes. Wash off salt, dry with paper towels and brush lightly with olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 220degC. Place the eggplant skins on a lightly oiled baking tray and cook in the oven for ten minutes. Remove and cool.
Wash the salt off the cubed eggplant flesh and dry. Saute in 2 tbsp oil, stirring frequently. The idea is to cook the eggplant without colouring it – this will take about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from pan to a bowl and let cool. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add to the eggplant.
Press the ricotta through a sieve, stir through the pesto or basil, egg, cooled eggplant mixture and half the parmesan. Mix to combine. Pile the mixture into the eggplant shells and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Place the eggplant shells on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden on top. Serve immediately accompanied by a mixed salad.
For the Sugo: heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan, add 1 finely chopped onion and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Cook over low-medium heat until soft but not coloured. Add 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon each sugar and salt and some freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Let simmer gently for 20-30 minutes. A dash of balsamic vinegar is a good addition.