Cooking is how I show my love for my family and friends. Is it that way for you? I know it's that way for Sara…it was a blast cooking with her in Italy along with Mike and Martha. She is a funloving Italian grandmother who is serious about fresh ingredients only going into the food she cooks for her family. Even better from our trip to Italy last year, we gained two friends, Mike and Martha!
There's Mike! Mike was the Michael Angelo's sweepstakes winner. After our trip, we have been emailing together and Martha is so sweet, she leaves comments on my recipes and on facebook. I wish they didn't live so far away in Oregon.
Do you love eggplant as much as I do? I'm sharing a variation of Sara's (above) stuffed eggplant recipe that I learned while cooking with her in Italy.
Use a knife to score the sides. And then use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the eggplant.
Sara's secret is to add salt to allow the eggplant to sweat.
Dice the eggplant you scooped out.
Cook the uncased mild Italian chicken sausage in a heavy-bottomed pot. I used a French oven. I added chicken sausage which is not in Sara's original recipe. When it's done cooking, remove the sausage.
Cook the onion and then add the garlic.
Cook the eggplant down.
Ahhh, I know this doesn't look appetizing but if you're an eggplant lover like me, you know how good this tastes.
Add the sausage back to to pot and add breadcrumbs.
And cook the filling down even more.
These eggplant pieces have been rinsed and dried.
Add the filling to the eggplant.
Ladle in the tomato sauce. Add some sauce to the eggplant. Cover with foil and bake.
Remove from the oven and add the sliced fresh mozzarella on top of the eggplant and broil for about 5 minutes.
Look at those cheetah spots. That's what Curtis calls those brown spots on cheese. We loved this meal when we had it in Italy and love being able to make it at home! Serve with spaghetti and garlic bread and it's a meal. Comfort food for sure!
Stuffed Eggplant Recipe
- 2 eggplants, cleaned and dried
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound chicken or pork mild Italian sausage, uncased
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 garlic clove, smashed, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon capers, drained and smashed
- 2/3 cup diced onion, about 3/4 medium onion
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and minced
- 28 ounce can of whole peeled plum tomatoes, with or without basil is fine
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- uncooked pasta, prepared according to directions or homemade pasta
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Halve the eggplants and scoop out the middle. It may be helpful to cut out of the edges and then scoop out. Rub with salt and let stand to sweat. Dice the eggplant innards that you scooped out. (Right now is a good time to start the sauce.)
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a French oven and add sausage. Use wooden spatula to break up the sausage. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cooked sausage and place in a clean bowl. Set aside.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to French oven. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add eggplant and 2 more Tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add back the cooked sausage and breadcrumbs and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. The breadcrumbs should be soaked into the eggplant mixture.
- Remove eggplant filling from heat and add capers and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Rinse out eggplant shell halves and wipe dry with a paper towel. Place upside on a covered baking sheet to remove excess water.
- Stuff eggplant with cooked eggplant mixture and place in a casserole baking dish. Ladle tomato sauce into the baking dish underneath the eggplant and a little bit on top of each eggplant.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees F.
- Uncover and add sliced mozzarella cheese on top each of each eggplant to cover. Bake for another 5 minutes and then broil for another 5 minutes. Serve with cooked pasta.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion with olive oil for about 3 to 5 minutes on medium high, until onions are softened. Add garlic and cook for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Add whole tomatoes with juice plus 1 cup of water to the pot. Break down tomatoes with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add dried basil. Lower heat and allow sauce to simmer while prepping the rest of the eggplant dish. Season with salt and pepper.
Disclosure: Thanks to Michael Angelo's who hosted me on my trip to Italy. I only work with brands that I love and always share with you my honest opinions.
At Christmas at my Uncle Anthony’s we also made some Stuffed Mushrooms filled with an Eggplant filling that was SO delicious.
I found this on pinterest, and it looks so good! Im trying to look for lower carb recipes, and this sounds SO good. I love eggplant, but eggplant parm is SO fattening. Funny fact… Sara’s son Anthony is my Uncle. He also works at Michael Angelo’s.
Julie Deily says
Hi Brooke, that’s so cool! Thanks for hopping on my site and commenting. 🙂
Ricka Doerr says
Made this for supper last night and it was so good. Used my own homemade tomato sauce with some fresh basil added.
Whitney D says
I made these last night with eggplants from our garden. The stuffing was great but the eggplant itself was a bit tough and chewy. Do you think it just wasn’t cooked long enough? Isis 35 minutes in the oven before adding the cheese. Thanks!
Julie Deily says
Hi Whitney, that’s a bummer! Sorry about that. It sounds like the stuffing was not cooked long enough in the pot/pan on the stove. If you decide to make it again, I would taste it (allow to cool first) before stuffing the eggplant to bake. Hope that helps
This looks amazing! How do you think this would freeze before final baking?
Julie Deily says
I think it work if you froze it before baking it. I haven’t tried it though, if you do let me know how it goes!
I always do eggplant parm or stuffed peppers, but never stuffed eggplant! Such a great idea!
How timely for me! The ingredients are all here – they were just waiting for the recipe, thanks.
Did I ever tell you how much I adore this recipe? I haven’t cooked with eggplant in forever and I’m a little sad about it, ha ha, that needs to change! Love the cheetah spots!
I agree…what it looks like is NOT important here…it’s totally how it tastes:) It looks great by the end btw and that is what counts…thank goodness A Cookie Named Desire shared this with me.
Donna Turner says
This looks wonderful – I am real big on eggplant and have a stuffed veg recipe but it is not as wonderful as this. Thank you
Aqiyl Aniys says
I love the idea of scooping out the inner part of the eggplant and filling it with goodies. Nice!
Martha Richitelli says
Hi Julie: I wish you had posted this before I stumbled thru making the eggplants relying only on my scribbled notes and poor memory! But……the dish came out just fine. And of course I had as a “helper” the same cook’s assistant that Sara did! He is mine to keep, have had him almost 58 years now! Going to make the stuffed eggplants again now that I have your marvelous illustrated recipe. Your website is just super, Julie, and I am so happy that Mike and I know you and Curtis.
p.s. Im see you have my hand and top of my head behind Mike, I was stirring sauce!
Mmm this sounds so good. We love eggplant in our home–I need to try this recipe!
I would pretty much eat eggplant any and every day if I could. These looks so good!
These look beautiful. Cheese-stuff veg is always a winner!
Terri C says
This looks so good! A must try!
[email protected] says
LOVE this dish, Julie! I have gorgeous eggplant sitting on my counter. Now I know what to do with it! Pinned!
Emily @ Life on Food says
I have never seen eggplant done like this. I am in love.
Can hardly wait for Oregon weather to change so we can get the eggplant growing to try this luscious recipe.
Ruby Pena says
Yum, eggplant is my favorite! This looks amazing!
I love that he calls them “cheetah spots”!!
This dish looks absolutely fabulous! You are so lucky!
Andrea Y says
Maybe my husband would actually eat eggplant if I prepared it this way.
Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says
I adore eggplant and this looks scrumptious!
This stuffed eggplant looks so delicious! I will save this recipe. Thanks!
The reason I started cooking was because it was a way I could show my love to family and friends. It is may favorite part of what I do!!
Love this dish. It looks delicious!
joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas says
I have an eggplant in the fridge that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with…and I am definitely going to try this tomorrow! I love eggplant and have never cooked it like this before.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I love eggplant and stuffed is even better!