Gluten Free Stuffed Eggpant

IMG_3395.jpgWhether you call them eggplant, aubergine, melanzane or berenjena, let’s all agree that this spongy, tangy fruit is one of many nature’s gifts to us. Its versatility is such that you can deep fry it and turn it into crunchy crisps, you can grill them, slice them or cook them in olive oil and treat them as lasagna sheets (hallo Parmigiana!) But stuffing them with ricotta, tomato and a little parmigiano is when I get weak at the knees! These, vegetarian, gluten free, Sicilian-Style Stuffed Eggplant is my go-to meal at the end of summer, when these dark and gleaming delights are in season!

INGREDIENTS

3-4 Japanese eggplant (or small regular eggplant) cut in half lengthways

120 ml of extra-virgn olive oil

salt for seasoning

1-2 garlic cloves skin on, bashed with a knife

400 gr of passata or chopped tomatoes

basil leaves

250 gr of full cream ricotta

1 beaten egg

60 gr of freshly grated parmigiano

30 gr of grated ricotta salata

a little freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

1.Preheat your oven to 200 C, conventional , or 180 C fan forced. Line an oven dish with baking paper.

2. Using a knife carefully remove the flesh from the eggplant halves, being mindful not to cut through the skin, At the end you want empty eggplant boats to realdy welcome some tasty filling.

3. Chop the eggplant flesh and fry it in half of the olive oil until crispy. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

4. In the meantime season the empty eggplant halves with 1/4 of the remaining oil, a little salt and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Fry off the garlic in the remaining oil, add tomato and basil, season with salt and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

5. Make the filling by mixing ricotta with the cooked eggplant flesh, parmesan cheese, some chopped bails leaves, the beaten eggs, salt and pepper, Add 3-4 tablespoons of the red sauce.

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6. Fill the cooked eggplant halves with the filling, spoon over some more red sauce, dust with parmesan cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Grate some ricotta salata on top when they are fresh out of the oven. If you don’t have ricotta salata you may try some peppery pecorino. Serve with basil leaves and a little extra drizzle of olive oil.

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