VEGETARIAN STUFFED EGGPLANT

I just came up with this dish tonight (6/5/01) and I'm really pleased with it. It looked good in my mind because of the combination of the eggplant, curry, ginger and dates...I especially wanted to use dates, and it was well worth it. It's a lot of trouble, just as most of my meals are, but it was so good I'm going to make it again sometime soon.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

* Olive Oil
* 1 Large Eggplant
* 1 Small / Medium Yellow Onion
* 3 Cloves of Garlic
* Salt & Pepper
* Red Pepper Flakes
* Handful of Pine Nuts
* 1 Bunch of Spinach (or 1 bag)
* 3 Medium Tomatoes
* Mushrooms
* 5 Leaves of Fresh Basil
* 1 tsp. Curry (mild)
* 1 tsp. Chopped Ginger Root (bottled is easiest)
* Chopped Dates
* 1/4 lb. Orzo (or other small soup pasta)
* Romano Cheese
* 1 Egg (optional)

 

Prep Work:

Cut the stem off of the eggplant and then cut in half long-ways (through the root end). Cut or scoop out the insides of each half. Discard the part with the seeds, and use the rest to cut into cubes and set aside.
Put the halves of the eggplant in a large baking pan (Pyrex is good to use because of the high edges).
Cut onion mostly in large slices, and dice some of it.
Slice garlic.
Clean spinach and shred it somewhat.
Peel the tomatoes and cut the stems out, then cut them into wedges.
Clean mushrooms and slice.

Now cover the bottom of a large skillet with a liberal amount of olive oil.
Sauté the onions until they are almost clear then add the garlic and pine nuts. Let these sauté for a few minutes, but don't let the garlic burn.
Add the cubes of eggplant and lots of salt and pepper. You may have to add more oil because the eggplant will soak it up like a sponge.
When the eggplant is cooked enough to be broken wet and broken down, add the spinach and cover the pan. Stir occasionally so the spinach cooks down.
Now add the mushrooms and let them cook a bit.
Mix the tomatoes, curry, ginger, basil, red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper in a bowl together then add to the skillet with everything else.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cook the Orzo pasta (or rice) in a small pot. When it's done, drain water then mix the pasta with some Romano cheese and the scrambled egg.
Now mix EVERYTHING together and put it in the eggplant shells.
Here's the best part - put the dates in strategically.
Bake for about 1/2 hour.

That's it, as if that's not enough.

 

 

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