During these gorgeous golden days of early fall, we are still enjoying summer's harvest and eating outside. Every last minute cherished before it becomes completely Siberian and we are under blankets, eating carbs.
This weekend I noticed that our basil is still full of green leaves and eggplants at the market are gorgeous and abundant through October. I love stuffing eggplant this way. I've featured it here before with tomatoes, basil & cheese. I love eating a half an eggplant as my dinner... and then the other half for lunch the next day.
Here's what you'll need for two halves:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 red pepper or 3-4 baby peppers, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- olive oil, 3-5 tbsp
- 3 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans
- red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp
- salt & pepper
- mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup, shredded
- parmesan, 1/4 cup, grated
- basil, a bunch chopped or torn (some for cooking, some for garnish)
Here's what you'll do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare the eggplant: Cut the eggplant in half. Scoop the meat from the halves and chop. Coat the eggplant shells with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes; until the eggplant shells are tender. Remove from the oven and reserve.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage, crumbling the meat at it cooks. Once completely browned, remove the sausage from the pan and reserve.
4. In the same skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil, garlic, cubed eggplant, chopped peppers, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.
5. Cook on the stovetop until the vegetables become tender. Add the tomatoes and beans. Return sausage to pan. Stir in most of your chopped basil, combine and simmer about 15 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add salt & pepper if needed.
6. Scoop the eggplant/sausage mixture into the eggplant halves.
7. Top each half with mozzarella and parmesan. Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.
8. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with torn basil leaves and more grated parmesan.
xo & a pinch