Stuffed eggplants (melanzane mbuttunate)

Eggplants, in summer, are the undisputed queens of Southern Italian cuisine. We prepare them in all kinds of ways: roasted, fried, rolled to make involtini, in caponata or in the classic Parmigiana. But maybe you don’t know eggplant “mbuttunate: stuffed and cooked in a pan, along with tomato sauce. 

There are several versions: the Calabrian, the Campanian and the Sicilian. This is my version, with stale bread, Pecorino cheese and eggs. In addition, I made the recipe faster (thanks to the use of microwave) and lighter (if we compare it to the Sicilian version, which, instead, requires the eggplants to be fried).  

They are delicious either hot or warm, as an antipasto or as a main course. 

Ingredients for 3 persons
3-4 slices of stale bread
3 medium eggplants
1 egg
6 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon pickled capers
1 tin of peeled tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil

Time: 30 minutes

Let’s cook!

Soak the bread slices in a bowl with water until soft. Squeeze and set them aside. Wash and cut the eggplant in half, score the flesh in the center with a knife, and steam them in the microwave for 2 minutes at full power (750 degrees in my case) until soft. If you don’t have a microwave, you can steam them in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Scoop out the eggplants, removing the inner flesh with a spoon. Keep the eggplant “shells” aside. In a bowl, mix the bread with the eggplant flesh, egg, Pecorino cheese, parsley, chopped capers, salt and pepper. Stuff the eggplants with the mixture you made.

In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic with a little oil. Then add the peeled tomatoes (properly chopped) and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. Add the eggplants and cook for another 10 minutes, with the lid on, basting them with the tomato sauce.

Serve them hot with a few basil leaves and a sprinkling of Pecorino cheese.

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