Ricotta and Parmesan Stuffed Eggplant

With Meat Sauce

Serves 4


Ingredients:

2 medium to large eggplant, more tall than wide
1 15 oz. tub whole milk ricotta
1 heaping 1/3 C fresh grated parmesan
½ t fresh grated nutmeg
½ lb. 80% lean ground beef
1 24 oz. bottle spaghetti sauce (I used Bertoli organic with onion and garlic)
5+ T kosher salt
½ t cracked black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/3 C white sweet onion chopped finely…and just keep a bottle of oliveoil handy.
You’ll need it!
LOTS of fresh basil for topping the mixture before baking, and for the garnish when plated.


Method:

  • Slice off the top and bottom of the eggplant so you can stand it on end easily. Cut it into long slices,about ¼ inch thick.You will need about 10 to 12 good slices.Don’t use but don’t discardthe outside slices withthe skin on…go ahead and chop them into1/4inch cubes for adding to the meat sauce. Now, place all theeggplant in a large bowl and GENEROUSLY rub with salt. Seriously…think of a salt scrub in the shower. GO FOR IT.Make sure they’re covered by using your hands. Now place them in a colander inside another bowl and let restfor 20 minuteswhile the moisture drains. Drain theliquid, RINSEthe piecesthoroughly, patthemcompletely drywith paper towels and lay them out on a large, slightly oiled baking sheet (they can touch a bit so you can fit themall on one sheet), and rub them with a bit more oil. NO SALT. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 13 minutes. Removeand let come to room temperature so you can touch them. Lower theoventemp to 375 degrees Ffor later andkeep oven on if you’d like.
  • While eggplant is baking, pour about 1 T oil into a large sauce pan. Whenalmost to smoke point,add themeat and break it up to cook it. Let it brown slightlyon medium high heat. Add the onion and the choppedeggplant pieces, about 1 t kosher salt, and stir until onion is translucent and eggplant is cooked. About 4–5minutes. Now add the garlic, stir and let get fragrant. Add the whole bottle of sauce, and stirwell. Lower heat tolet it simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • In a large bowl combine the ricotta, the parmesan, about ½ t kosher salt, the black pepper, andthenutmeg. Stir well and set aside.
  • To assemble. Put about 1 to 1 ½C sauce on the bottom of agreasedglass baking dish. I find that a sizeclose to about 7” by 10” worked great for me. Place 1 of the slices of eggplant on an oiled surface (Not thecounter. It will stick!), place about ¼-1/3 C of the cheese mixture at one end. Roll up and place seam side downon the meat mixture. Repeat until all 12 eggplant have been stuffedand arranged evenly in the dish. Cover withthe rest of the meat sauce, sprinkle generously with torn or chopped basil, and cook for 20 minutes, or untilbubbly but not burning.
  • Remove, serve and garnish with more basil!



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