Marina's Stuffed Eggplant
Pork is Good for you!
Eggplant, ground pork, Romano cheese and vegetables, yum! When I saw this recipe by Michael Chiarello I knew I had to make it, but I also knew I needed to make a few changes. The major one was to substitute the ground beef for ground pork. Ground pork is sweeter and is a better meat to use for stuffing, in my opinion. The ground pork from Circle B Ranch is very lean, and there is very little, if any, fat in the pot after you fry it up! This recipe was so easy to prepare, and it was delicious! Just like my stuffed peppers recipe this will be a recipe I will prepare over and over again.
2 large eggplant
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound Circle B ranch ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, small diced
1 red pepper, small diced (I used an orange pepper)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon of dried basil or 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup Marina’s Tomato Sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Boil the scooped-out center part until very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground pork to the pan and saute until all of the liquid is evaporated and the pork begins to brown slightly. Drain the pork, removing the extra, unnecessary fat. (if using Circle B Ranch Ground Pork there will be very little fat).
Let cool briefly and chop the cooked pork so that there are no large chunks of meat.
In another medium saute pan over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions, peppers and garlic together.
In a bowl mix together the cooked eggplant, vegetables, cooked, pork herbs, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, and the egg.
Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the 2 halves.
Top with Marina’s Tomato Sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper, place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve.