Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eggplant Stuffed with Veggie Sausage, Peppers, and Mushrooms

Italian sausage, peppers, and mushrooms are a classic combination for sandwiches, pasta, and other delights. In this recipe, I use Italian-style veggie sausage to stuff eggplants with this classic combination.

Some varieties of veggie sausage crumble easily, but others have a firmer texture. Either type works fine. Just coarsely chop the sausage links before cooking, and it won't matter if they don't further crumble.


1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 links (2 individual-size portions) Italian-style vegetarian sausage, coarsely chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice eggplant in half lengthwise.

Using a tablespoon or soup spoon, scoop out the flesh of each eggplant half, leaving enough around the sides and bottom to form a sturdy shell.

Coarsely chop the eggplant meat and set aside.

Brush the eggplant shells with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, place them cut side up in a in a deep oven-proof baking dish or pan, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute for a 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant. Do not let the garlic turn brown.

Add the mushrooms and chopped eggplant flesh to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium, and saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and tender.

Add 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Saute for 1 minute.

Add the wine, and saute for 5 minutes.

Return the sausage to the skillet, along with the breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. If the mixture seems too dry, add more wine and/or olive oil, to taste. It should be moist but firm.

Stuff the mixture into the eggplant shells, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove and discard the foil.

Bake the eggplant, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, until tender and lightly golden.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley.

If using as an entree, serve one eggplant half per person. If using as an appetizer or side dish, cut each eggplant half crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces.

-- 2 entree servings or 4-6 appetizer or side servings

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