A few weeks ago I was looking for our vegetarian meal for the week and went to Allrecipes.com for inspiration. One of the first recipes I stumbled upon was for stuffed eggplant. I'd never stuffed eggplant before, but it sounded delicious. Of course, I can't just follow any recipe exactly and in fact, this recipe I pretty much threw out the window except for the eggplant and the mushrooms.
So stuffed eggplant went on the meal plan for the week and eggplant went on the grocery list. Finding no suitable eggplant at the community market, I purchased a nice big fat one from the grocery store that Saturday. By the time Friday rolled around and I was ready to fix it, though, the eggplant was a mushy rotten mess. It went in the trash and I punted.
Once I got the "shell" out of the way, I had to figure out what to stuff in them. I knew I wanted to use some cherry tomatoes from the 7 year old's gardening club's garden, mushrooms, and onions. But I felt it needed more substance. So throughout the week, I jotted notes as to what might go in my eggplants and patty pans. The night I made them, I pretty much pulled vegetables out of the fridge until I came up with what looked like a good combination. My husband and I both loved these, so I guess I got it right. The eggplant ones were warm and soothing and the squash ones had a fresh light flavor to them. It was so interesting how the shells made a difference in the overall flavor.
Stuffed Eggplant and Patty Pan Squash
2 white eggplant, halved
2 patty pan squash, stem end cut off
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups mushroom, halved and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
3/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplants and patty pans in a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake 10 to 15 minutes to soften the vegetables.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Once hot, saute green onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, parsley and basil.
Scoop the flesh out of the eggplant and patty pans, leaving a sturdy wall. Dice half of the vegetable flesh and add to pepper and mushroom mixture in the skillet. Continue to saute until vegetables begin to caramelize and brown.
Stir in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 1 - 2 minutes just until tomatoes soften.
Remove from heat and stuff mixture into eggplant and patty pan squash. Top each eggplant and squash with panko and then with mozzarella.
Bake in oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.