Stuffed eggplant

Stuffed eggplant

Melanzane ripiene

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

The Moors originally brought eggplants to Italy and, although it took a while for the Italians to embrace this new vegetable, they eventually did so with gusto. Eggplant features in many southern Italian dishes, as an antipasto or as a main protagonist. Although this recipe might be a little fiddly, the end result is incredible so it‘s absolutely worth the trouble.


Quantity Ingredient
4 small to medium eggplants
60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets in olive oil
200g minced veal
50g dry breadcrumbs
80ml tomato passata
1/4 bunch basil, chopped
25g pecorino, grated


  1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways and prick holes all over the flesh with a fork.
  2. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, par-boil the eggplant halves, flesh side down, for 7–10 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the eggplants from the water and, when cool enough to handle, using a small knife and spoon, scoop out the pulp, leaving the skin intact. Place the eggplant pulp in a bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Place the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion, garlic and anchovies until the anchovies have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal mince and continue to sauté for 8–10 minutes – the meat does not need to be browned, just seared. Add the eggplant pulp, 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of the tomato passata and the basil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Place the eggplant shells on an oiled baking tray and fill them with the veal and eggplant mixture. Top with the remaining tomato passata and scatter the remaining breadcrumbs over. Finish off with the pecorino. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
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