Stuffed Eggplant With Ricotta

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Eggplant Parmigiana – Stuffed!

Stuffed Eggplant - finished

Buon giorno!

My mother, Loretta’s, Eggplant Parmigiana was a much revered dish in our household. This dish was enjoyed hot, cold, in sandwiches, and secretly, late at night right out of the frig with one’s own personal fork. It was splendid!  I always liked to be around when Loretta made this dish. The tastings were always amazing. There is nothing quite like a freshly fried slice of breaded eggplant right out of the hot oil! However, later in life, she began to experiment and deviate a little with some of her recipes, including this one. She occasionally put a layer of ricotta in the middle of it, telling me this had something to do with Vic Damone? (Italian singer of note at the time.)

This gave me the idea for my STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH RICOTTA. Instead of the layer of ricotta, I like to stuff each slice of breaded fried eggplant! My husband, Tom, sometimes refers to this dish with the rather sacrilegious term, “tacos” – for which he is usually banished from my Italian kingdom for a few moments, until I can regain my composure. They really do look like little stuffed pockets, but I refuse to allow the word “taco” to be used in description.

Tips: You will use the larger slices of the eggplant for this recipe. Trying to stuff the smaller ones is cumbersome. Save the smaller slices for another dish. I like to cube them and make pasta sauce! You can also grill or roast the smaller pieces for a nice vegetable side dish.

You can leave the eggplant skin on or peel it off. This depends on your preference. I like the skin on for this dish – a little healthier – and it adds flavor, texture, and a better visual.

Pressing your eggplant slices between paper towels to drain off some of the bitterness is also a preference. I always press mine for a couple of hours. I think the eggplant is sweeter this way.

Remember that eggplant acts as a sponge when fried – you made need to replenish the oil along the way.

Some would rather bake the eggplant slices for health reasons to avoid the fat. There is no problem doing this, although it helps to drizzle the slices with a little olive oil before baking them. This makes them a little less dry and tastier.

Do yourself a favor – don’t shortcut this by using a pre-made or bottled sauce. Make your own. You can even make the sauce a day ahead or freeze it. It is sooo much better. I offer a few links to my posts on great sauces for your STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH RICOTTA. You can choose a meat sauce or meatless. If you choose the sauce with pork – the best source for pork neck bones  is: Circle B Ranch – Natural Berkshire Pork, humanely raised – with the best flavor I have experienced!

This is a winning dish. It is great left over. Andiamo!

STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH RICOTTA

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 large Eggplant – sliced with skins on (or off if you like it that way)

Flour for dredging

3 Eggs, beaten (more if needed)

Plain Breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Oil for frying

Plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese to serve with the dish

Chopped Fresh Basil for garnish

For Stuffing:

1 lb. or a 15 oz. container Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

1/2 C. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

2 1/2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley

Salt and pepper

1 Beaten Egg

For Sauce:

For a meatless sauce – Try my Marinara Sauce or Sauce Pomodoro: HERE

For a truly different meatless sauce – Try my Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: HERE

For a sauce with meat – Try my Pork Ragu  – using sausage or pork neck bones: HERE

Instructions:

Slice your eggplant thinly and plan to use the large slices only. Save the small ones for another use.

Stuffed Eggplant 1

Press your eggplant slices between paper towels weighted with something heavy ( like cans of tomatoes!) for a couple of hours. Some choose not to do this. I always do.

Make your ricotta filling. Set aside.

Stuffed Eggplant 9

Make your sauce. You can make the sauce the day before, if you like.

Place the flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls.

Dredge the eggplant slices in flour first.

Stuffed Eggplant 2

Then dip them into the egg to cover.

Stuffed Eggplant 3

Then coat them well with breadcrumbs.

Stuffed Eggplant 4

Fry the slices in  hot oil – takes just a couple of minutes each side. Drain them on paper towels.

Stuffed Eggplant 6

Stuffed Eggplant 7

Place a little sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Stuffed Eggplant 8

Take each eggplant slice and place a spoonful of ricotta filling in each.

Stuffed Eggplant 11

Set the “pockets” in the baking dish with the sauce – fit them close together so that they hold one another up. Line them up making two rows. The recipe makes about 16-18 “pockets”.

Stuffed Eggplant 12

Spoon a little sauce down the center of the stuffed rows. Don’t drown them in sauce. Less is more! If you have sauce left over, serve some on the side with the dish or save it (can freeze) for another use.

Stuffed Eggplant 13

Top them off with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. I like to add some shaved Parmigiano as well – up to you!

Stuffed Eggplant 14

Bake at 350 degrees until heated through – about 30 minutes. (depends on your oven)

Serve with plenty of chopped fresh basil.

Perhaps, a vino rosso with your STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH RICOTTA? I know I’d like one. I would choose a Chianti Classico (some might like a Riserva – more “oaky”).

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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Comments

  1. Love this version.

  2. Angela Sciurca says:

    Love this recipe. Is there any way to print it out without all the pictures and directions? I just need the list of ingredients. Thanks

    • Yes! After you click print on any recipe. Look up at the top of the screen. There is a box that will say “Remove Images” – click that and it removes the photos. Enjoy!

  3. Can’t wait to try this!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Many times you’ll see it in savory pies and even on pizzas giving these dishes a touch of cheese with a less sharp flavor. It makes a wonderful stuffing ingredient not only for filled pastas, but also for vegetables like tiny sweet peppers (RECIPE) and eggplant (RECIPE). […]

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