Peperoni Ripieni

Peppers Stuffed with Eggplant

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The dairy section of La cucina nella tradizione ebraica is the source of this delicious adaptation of eggplant-stuffed peppers. It is basically a Sephardo-Italian dolma or a chopped version of eggplant Parmesan slipped inside a pepper.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants, about 1 pound each, peeled and diced
  • Salt
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise and stems, seeds, and thick ribs removed
  • ½ to ¾ pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water

Method

Sprinkle the diced eggplant with salt, place in a colander, and let stand for about 1 hour to drain off any bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry.

Warm ¼ cup olive oil in a sauté pan over low heat. Add the eggplant in batches and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mash with a fork, or pulse in a food processor. (A 1-pound eggplant yields about 1¾ cups puree.) Add the egg, basil, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the peppers hollow ends up in a baking dish. Stuff the eggplant mixture into the peppers, dividing it evenly. Top each pepper half with a slice of mozzarella. Drizzle a little olive oil into the baking dish and add the water. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake until the peppers are tender and cheese is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.