Sausage Stuffed Baked Eggplant

As it seems to happen every January, I am once again currently trying to cut out the carbs!  You know, all those yummy things like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice…  It probably won’t last forever (it never does), but it’s a nice way to start the new year.

I have not stopped using cheese, however.  (I don’t think cheese will ever leave my diet!)  Which is why I covered these stuffed eggplants with not one but two types of cheese.  (The cheese helps you forget about the carb thing, trust me.)

I boiled my eggplant for a few minutes before stuffing them and baking them.  Next time, I think I’ll boil them a tad bit longer as they were still a little too al dente for my taste.  The stuffing was packed with great flavor from delicious chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, as well as from the basil and tomatoes.  The sausage, however, was precooked, which made it pretty difficult to remove it from its casings and to break it up.  I would probably go with a raw sausage next time.  This is definitely a versatile dish.  You could use the same filling to stuff zucchini, for instance, if you’re not an eggplant fan.

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Start by preheating your oven to 400°…

  • Carefully slice two large eggplant in half.

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  • Scoop out the seeds and some of the fleshy inside to create a “bowl”.  Reserve everything.  (Work quickly to minimize browning.)

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  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the eggplant halves to the water and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.

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  • Remove from the water and set aside.

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  • Meanwhile, heat some EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove 1 package of chicken sausage from its casings.
  • Add the sausage meat to the skillet.

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  • Break the sausage up with a wooden spoon.

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  • While the sausage browns, chop ½ onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

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  • Add the onion and garlic to the skillet.

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  • Cook for a few minutes.
  • Chop up the flesh and seeds from the eggplant, and add it to the skillet.

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  • Let everything cook for about 3 minutes.

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  • Then add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes.

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  • Season with some s&p.
  • Stir, and let cook for about 3 more minutes.

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  • While the sausage mixture is cooking, chiffonade about ¼ cup fresh basil.

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  • Remove the sausage mixture from the heat and add the basil.

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  • Spread ⅓ cup crushed tomato out on the bottom of a baking dish.

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  • Place the eggplant in the dish.

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  • Spoon the sausage filling into each eggplant half.

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  • Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese onto each eggplant.

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  • Top each stuffed eggplant with grated Parmesan cheese.

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  • Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

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Serve with a side salad.  Enjoy!

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Two Years Ago: Beef with Broccoli in Orange Sauce

Sausage Stuffed Baked Eggplant (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • 4 spicy chicken sausages, removed from their casings
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⅓ cups crushed tomato, divided
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ cup basil, chiffonade
  • 8 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°.
  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Scrap out the flesh and seeds of the eggplants and reserve.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the eggplant halves.
  • Boil for 3 minutes, then remove from the water.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage and break up with a wooden spoon.
  • Once the sausage is browned, add the the onion and garlic.
  • Cook for 4 minutes.
  • Chop up the flesh of the eggplant.
  • Add about 1 cup of it to the skillet.
  • Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of the crushed tomato.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir and cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
  • Spread the remaining ⅓ cup of crushed tomato onto the bottom or a baking dish.
  • Place the eggplant halves in the baking dish.
  • Fill each half with the sausage mixture.
  • Top each half with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

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