Spring is actually finally acting like it is here and nicer weather always makes me crave veggies and lighter foods. I love eggplant it is so good! It is also a vegetable my husband will eat which makes me love it all the more. Many of my favorite eggplant dishes include tomatoes (my one true love) but because these upset Zach’s stomach I tend to stay away from them when he’s around.
I had never heard of stuffing eggplants before a couple of months ago, I think it might have been a Lidia Bastianich recipe I had seen? Whatever it was I was intrigued. If like me you are unfamiliar with this cooking style one cuts the eggplant in half and then cuts around the edge of the half and scoops out the flesh. The first time I tried this I cut too close to the edge of the eggplant and they were incredibly fragile. This time I made a much wider border around the edge and it worked a lot better.
The beauty of this recipe is its versatility, one can stuff the eggplant with whatever one has on hand. I confess that when cooking I am rarely organized with my ingredients already at hand. Bad habit I am trying VERY hard to break. For risotto it is necessary to have all ingredients ready at the go. You will be stirring for 20 minutes so grab an activity, did you see Quiz Up added a Jane Austen category?!?!?
Eggplant Ingredients: serves 2
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
5-6 olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup parmesan grated cheese
Dash of red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cut eggplant in half and cut around the edge of the eggplant, scoop out the flesh and reserve.
Brush the eggplant halves with 1 tbs olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. (Now would be a good time to begin the risotto).
Chop up the remaining eggplant flesh. In a large bowl mix the eggplant, onions, garlic, olives, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the vegetable mixture until soft, about 5 minutes.
Remove the eggplant halves from the oven and divide the vegetable mixture between the two halves. Top with parmesan and bake for another 15 minutes.
White Wine Risotto: serves 4
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 TBS butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup risotto
1/4 cup white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the white wine and chicken stock.
In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted add the shallots and cook until softened about 5 minutes.
Add the risotto and toast for 30 seconds. Add enough of the white wine and chicken stock to cover the risotto. Stir constantly for 20 minutes adding more stock as it is absorbed by the rice. Once all of the stock is absorbed and the risotto is al dente add the parmesan and stir in off heat. Season with salt and pepper.