As promised, here’s a recipe for stuffed eggplants that’s been passed down from my Italian grandmother’s family. I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible in writing out the recipe, but the problem is – and I don’t know if this is an Italian thing or a generational thing – there aren’t many written recipes in existence for any of the Italian foods I grew up with.
I remember my Nonno once tried to show me how to make his tomato sauce; it seemed as if he was just freestyling the whole thing, randomly throwing things into the pot without measuring anything out. The idea of having a written out recipe with exact measurements and cooking times was absurd to him.
Luckily, my mom actually wrote out this recipe when she watched her mother make it years ago, so here it is (recipe makes 4-6 servings):
8 baby eggplants
1 pound of ground meat (veal, pork or beef)
5 cloves of garlic
Half a loaf of sfilatino bread (sfilatino is an Italian-style baguette; if you can’t find it, you can use a French baguette instead)
Grated parmesan cheese
700 mL tomato sauce
1. Cut 8 baby eggplants in half. Remove innards and set aside. Parboil skins and set aside.
2. Cut innards into chunks. Parboil with five cloves of minced garlic, a bit of parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from water and set aside.
3. Tear bread into 1 inch chunks; soak in water or milk until moist. Remove and squeeze out excess moisture.
4. In a bowl, combine meat, bread, eggplant innards, 8 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and three eggs. Stuff each eggplant half with 1/8 of the mixture.
5. Pour most of a jar of tomato sauce into a shallow baking dish. Place eggplants in dish and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.
6. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
These were so good, even my cat Jerry tried to get in on the action.
Actually, that’s not saying much; this cat will eat pretty much anything. But all of the humans at the table agreed these were amazing!