Melanzane ripiene – Calabrian stuffed aubergines

6
1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Melanzane ripiene

  • 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 4 large aubergines, halved
  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g of passata
  • 100g of stale bread, white
  • 80g of pecorino, grated (or use a similar cheese that contains vegetarian rennet, if preferred)
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a small bunch will do)
  • 2 eggs
  • fine sea salt, as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Method

1
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the vinegar, then ease in the aubergine halves and blanch for 5–7 minutes, until just softened. Drain and allow to cool on a plate, cut-side down
2
Once cool enough to handle, remove some of the flesh from the aubergines using a teaspoon, in order to hollow them out for the filling. Turn the aubergines cut-side down again
3
Squeeze any liquid out of the scooped-out flesh, mince it finely and set it aside
4
Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the crushed garlic and allow it to infuse the oil for a couple of minutes. Next, add the aubergine flesh. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Once tender, remove from the frying pan and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper
5
Add another spoonful of oil to the same pan and, when hot, add the passata. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over a medium heat, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and set aside
6
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
7
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place the aubergines on top, cut-side up
8
Soak the bread in some water and set aside for 10 minutes, to soften. Drain the bread, squeezing out any excess liquid, and crumble into a large bowl. Add the aubergine flesh, pecorino, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper and stir everything until well-combined. Use this mixture to stuff the aubergines
9
Top the stuffed aubergines with tomato sauce to cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until tender all the way through
10
Serve warm or at room temperature