Tag Archives: vegetables

Melanzane al Ripieno ~ Stuffed Eggplant

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Yummy and healthy – that’s the perfect combination for a delicious dinner which can be prepared ahead and thrown into the oven when you come home from work!

 

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Melanzane al Ripieno (serves 4)

2 medium sized eggplants, sliced lengthwise

4 small zucchini – chopped

2 sausages – remove the case on one of them and chop it up.  Slice up the other one into thin slices

100 g shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve some for the end)

50 g sliced bread

50 g grated parmesan cheese

50 g grated pecorino

100 ml milk

1 red onion, finely chopped

6 basil leaves

olive oil

broth

salt & pepper

Trim the eggplants, wash them, slice them, and then hollow out the inside leaving the shell and saving the pulp(making a sort of “boat” which will hold the filling).

Cut the pulp into small pieces and set aside.

Salt the inside of the eggplant boats and turn them upside down on a paper towel until they release their water.  Dry the inside of these boats and set aside, awaiting the filling.

Mix the chopped eggplant pulp, zucchini and chopped sausage. 

Soak the bread in the milk and then squeeze it to remove as much milk as possible.  Chop this bread finely and set aside.

Saute the chopped onion in some olive oil.  Add the eggplant/zucchini combo.  Add some chopped basil and some broth.  Cook slowly for about 15 minutes until the vegetables and sausage are cooked and the broth has been absorbed.  Season with salt and pepper. 

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Transfer this to a bowl and add the chopped bread and the cheeses.  Mix it all up (I use my hands as it’s more efficient for me!). 

Brush some olive oil inside the eggplant boats and puncture them with a toothpick.  Fill the boats with the filling.  Add a couple of sliced sausages to each half and sprinkle with some of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place them on an oiled oven proof dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake them at 375 degrees F for about 50 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake them for a bit more until they are browned and the cheese is melted. 

Enjoy!  Let me know if you try this and how you liked it 🙂

Trying something new….

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Last night I tried cooking something that I had never cooked before! Most people aren’t going to believe me when I tell them what it was – after all, it is a VERY common dish in Italy. Even here in San Francisco, those transplants from Italy grow this in their gardens and are thrilled when ’tis the season!

I recently signed up for a “farm fresh to you” service which delivers organic vegetables directly from the farms. Of course, you are getting what is currently being grown in nearby farms…but it is great because I am trying those vegetables that I never ventured to buy before.

Ok, ok….I know that you are all dying to find out what this mystery vegetable is, so I guess I will spill the beans and quench your curiosity!!!

FENNEL….finocchio in Italian….and why it has this particular name, which is also a slang term for a gay man, is a mystery to me (and BTW, which name came first, I really don’t know)!!!

Fennel is grown alot in Italy, especially in Tuscany and the Southern regions, but my family did not grow up eating it. Every once in a while, some friend would share a bulb with us….but I remember not being particularly fond of it. It was one of those things like liver – it’s OK to eat sometimes, but I couldn’t make it a regular on my menus. So, needless to say, I never really paid any attention to it at the supermarket.

But, lo and behold, it showed up in my crate this past week and so I decided to give it a try!  I searched some recipes, and as I always enjoy the simple ones the best, I chose the following recipe.  The result was a success!  My husband and I both enjoyed it very much, and have now become fans of this delicious bulb!

Baked Fennel

1 fennel bulb, cut into strips

1 T. chopped fresh rosemary

1 T. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Wash and cut the fennel and place in an oven bowl.  Mix the herbs with the olive oil and pour over the fennel, making sure the fennel is well seasoned.

Turn the oven to broil, and place the bowl in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until the fennel begins to brown.  Remove from heat and serve warm.