Stuffed eggplant (or aubergine) is a very popular dish in Italy. We made them together with Chef Gianna Greco in her cooking school in Lecce, the Pulgia region of Italy in the heel of the boot. I’ll have to admit, however, that Chef Gianna would not approve of my version. There are a lot of rules in Italian cooking that many have tried to impart upon us during our time here. See our story about a cooking class in Bologna Italy for example, where the chefs were convinced that Americans put ketchup on our spaghetti. And the whole idea of adding garlic to our ragu sauce brought a tear to their eyes. Ah well. My breach of the rules in this recipe is to add onions and garlic to the same dish. This, according to Gianna, is wrong on every level. Despite that, I really love onions, and can’t imagine making a savory Italian dish without garlic. With apologies to Gianna – here’s my version of stuffed eggplant with sausage. (Sorry Gianna – but they are really good!)
- 2 Medium Whole Eggplants
- 4 Cloves Garlic - Minced
- 1 Small Red Onion - Minced
- 3/4 Pound Italian Sausage
- 1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
- 4 Cups Tomato Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
- 1 Egg
- 4 oz Provolone Cheese
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 oz Parmesan Cheese
- Remove the green tops of the eggplants and then cut them lengthwise in half.
- Using a sharp pairing knife, hollow out the eggplants, leaving about 1/4" of flesh along the inside to create a hollow canoe shape.
- Chop the removed eggplant flesh into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Sprinkle the inside of the eggplants with salt.
- Place the eggplants in a saute pan coated with olive oil over medium heat. Cover and saute for about 8 minutes until they are soft (about 4 minutes for each side). Set aside with hollow side facing down to drain and cool.
- Mince the sausage and add to a saute pan over medium heat.
- Cook the sausage until they are browned and then set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant cubes, 4 Tablespoons olive oil, and red wine. Saute for about 5 minutes
- Add the tomato sauce, oregano and parsley and allow to simmer for for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- Combine the mixture with an egg.
- Arrange the eggplant in a baking dish. Add the Provolone cheese slices to the bottom of the eggplant and then fill with the sausage mixture.
- Pour tomato sauce over the top of each eggplant, and the remainder into the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (If you like extra cheese, sprinkle some grated provolone on the top 1/2 way through the cooking time).
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove when the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is lightly bubbling.
Visit our Food Finds section to see a full list of our recipes inspired from our travels around the world. You can also see our list of tips to save you money or travel more comfortably that we’ve put together after more than 2 years of full-time travel in our Resources section.
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A special thank you to Chef Gianna Greco of Cooking Experience in Lecce, Italy. We adapted our recipe from her version that we sampled during a recent cooking class. More recipes and our story about our experience coming soon.
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