Aired August 27, 2007
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper
A handful of pinenuts, lightly toasted
2 tabelspoons capers
A handful of green Sicilian olives, coarsely chopped
1 28-ounce can San Marzano Italian whole plum tomatoes
1 cup (about 20) basil leaves, torn or chopped
1 pound fresh mozzarella or smoked mozzarella
Crusty bread, for passing at the table
Preheat oven to 450F.
Prick the skin of the eggplants and place on rack in the upper half of the oven and roast 20 minutes. Remove the eggplant and cool 10 minutes to handle.
Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery and cubanelle peppers, and let them cook while you cut up the eggplant.
Split the eggplants in half lengthwise and cut away the meat from the inside, keeping a little edge to the skins for stability.
Place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet then coarsely chop the eggplant and add it to the veggies in the skillet. Add the roasted red peppers and season everything with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes then add nuts, capers and olives.
Drain the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl and stir them up with a wooden spoon to coarsely crush them. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and a few spoonfuls of the sauce just to moisten the veggies. Wilt the basil into the vegetables, then fill the eggplant halves with the veggie mixture.
Top with sliced mozzarella and place the halves back in the oven 10 minutes to melt the cheese and set the filling. Serve a stuffed half eggplant per person with crusty bread for mopping alongside.