While browsing at one of our favorite grocery stores – Oakes Farms Market in Naples – we came across the most amazingly beautiful Sicilian eggplants. Plump, large, and brightly colored, we knew we had to find something fun to do with these delights.
We had some ground lamb, and a large piece of chevre lying about – so our direction for this dish was easily set. This large Sicilian eggplant could easily feed four people when stuffed. Smaller versions can be found, as well as a number of small round versions which can be used as appetizer portions.
Roasted Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts
Serves: Serves 4
NOTE: This recipe can easily be changed to a vegetarian version – eliminate the lamb, and substitute an additional 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
- Two 1-pound Sicilian eggplants, halved along the center
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread about 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the surface of a large baking dish and brush the eggplants with olive oil; season with salt and pepper and place into the baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes, until browned. Cool, and remove about 1/3 of the eggplant pulp from each half. Reserve the pulp for the stuffing.
- In the meantime, place the lamb in a saute pan over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon; cook until no pink remains, about 4 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Remove the lamb into a separate bowl.
- Saute the onions until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the spices and garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato, wine, and tomato paste, then saute for 5 minutes. Add back the lamb, eggplant pulp, parsley, sugar, lemon juice, and goat cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir together, and heat over medium for 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts, then fill the eggplant shells. Place back into the oiled baking dish, and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until heated throughout. Garnish with additional parsley and goat cheese.