|Stuffed and ready for the Ricotta-Parmesan topping...|
|The topping has been added & sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano....ready for the oven|
|Fresh out of the oven...BOOM!|
4 small Italian style eggplants (halved lengthwise)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan) to sprinkle on top, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush bottom of a 9" x 13” baking dish or similar sized casserole dish with olive oil and set aside. Place halved eggplants on a baking sheet, cut side up; brush cut side with olive oil and season with salt to taste. Bake for 20 minutes or until flesh is fork tender. (It's imperative to cook the eggplant until fork tender; it's not a vegetable that is pleasant under cooked -- unless you like chewing on erasers.) Let cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Using a spoon, scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving a very thin wall of flesh against the eggplant's skin so they maintain their shape and can be stuffed. Chop the eggplant flesh and set aside (it will be added to the cooked meat mixture later).
Stir the mozzarella cheese and the chopped cooked eggplant flesh into the meat mixture. Using a spoon, divide the filling evenly between the eggplant shells and fill until slightly mounded. Place filled shells in prepared baking dish. Spoon Ricotta-Parmesan topping on top of each filled eggplant half, spreading to cover the meat filling. Lightly sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top of each, if desired. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. If desired, run under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly brown the tops. Let sit about 10 minutes or so to set. If desired, serve with additional spaghetti sauce. Serves approximately 4.