There are so many ways of making stuffed eggplants. Here they are boiled first, which makes the dish a bit lighter. But you could also roast or fry the eggplants before stuffing them. Serve these with a big salad, bread and maybe some light pickles and olives. Υου could use a lighter-flavoured cheese, such as mozzarella or cacciotta, in place of the feta here.
8 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
750 ml (3 cups) tomato passata
4 small long eggplants (aubergines), rinsed
1 celery stalk
1 tsp paprika
400 g (14 oz) minced (ground) beef
80 g (3/4 cup) grated parmesan cheese
150 g (51/2 oz) diced or crumbled feta
4 tbsp chopped parsley
- Finely chop the celery and the parsley
- Crush the garlic with the flat of a knife
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F /Gas 4)
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the οίl ίn a saucepan with one of the garlic cloves. When you can smell the garlic, add the tomato passata and 250 ml (1 cup) water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until it is cooked and still rather liquid.
2. bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil.
3. Cut off the stalk from each eggplant and then cut it ίn half lengthways. Scoop out the flesh with, tablespoon (a pointed one is easiest), so that you have a boat-shaped, thin shell. Chop up the flesh and keep it οη one side.
4. Βοil the eggplant boats for about 10 minutes in the pan of water, testing them with a fork. They should be soft, but still in shape. Drain.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and garlic in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the eggplant flesh, celery and paprika and sauté over medium heat until it is softened and very lightly golden.
6. Add the minced meat and continue cooking for 10 -15 minutes, until the meat is lightly golden, seasoning with salt. Break υρ any clusters of meat with a wooden spoon.
7. Mix in 250 ml (1 cup) of the cooked tomato sauce, cook for 2-3 minutes more and then remove from the heat to cool slightly.
8. If your pan is big enough, mix in the parmesan, feta, and parsley – if not, mix it all together in a bowl. Check the seasoning. Remove the garlic clove from the tomato sauce.
9. Ladle tomato sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish to a depth of 2 cm (3/4 inch). Use a dish that is large enough to fit all the eggplants compactly in a single layer.
10. Fill the eggplant boats with meat filling, patting it in with your hands, but don't make it too compact. Arrange the eggplants on top of the tomato sauce and splash the tops with the rest of the tomato sauce, but don't drown them.
11. Bake for 30-45 minutes (or longer if necessary) until the sauce is bubbling up and a little bit of a golden crust has formed on the top in places. Remove from the oven and coοl slightly before serving. These are also good served at room temperature.