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Peperoni Ripieni (Stuffed Peppers with Eggplant)

<em>Peperoni Ripieni</em> (Stuffed Peppers with Eggplant) Related:   appetizers, dairy, Europe, July 4th, Shabbat, Shavuot, vegetables & legumes, vegetarian

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 50–60 minutes

Yield: 8 servings as a side dish

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A beautiful package of Italian garden flavors, these peppers feature a smooth basil-spiked eggplant filling elegantly draped with melty, creamy cheese and a bite of tomato. Use the time when the eggplants are broiling to prep all the remaining ingredients and your baking dish. Inspired by a recipe by Joyce Goldstein in Cucina Ebraica.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggplants (3–3½ pounds in total)
  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium sweet red bell peppers, halved lengthwise with stems, seeds and ribs removed
  • ¼ fresh lemon
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ cup panko or fine breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh burrata or mozzarella cheese, sliced into 8 pieces
  • 1 large Roma tomato, thinly sliced

Preparation

  • Preheat broiler. Rub the eggplants and garlic with olive oil and prick eggplants all over with a knife or fork. Place eggplants and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until garlic is browned and tender (remove if it is done before the eggplant) and eggplants are charred and shriveled, turning a few times, about 30 minutes. Let the eggplants cool about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place peppers skin-side up on a baking sheet and coat lightly with olive oil. Broil about 5 to 9 minutes, until the skins just start to brown. Remove. Turn oven to 375 degrees and adjust rack to middle position.
  • Peel the garlic and eggplant skins and discard, placing flesh in a large bowl. If liquid accumulates in the bowl, drain most of it out before proceeding. Using an immersion blender (or mashing by hand), make a thick puree. Squeeze lemon over the mixture and stir in basil, panko or breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper to taste and 1 heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese (save the rest for the topping). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Coat a baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the peppers hollow side up in the dish. Spoon in the eggplant mixture. Top with a slice of Roma tomato slightly overlapping a piece of burrata or mozzarella. Spread the remaining Parmesan over the top and sprinkle lightly with black pepper.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes tender. Serve warm, garnished with more fresh basil if desired.

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