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Sunday
Jun262011

Tomatoes Stuffed with Ricotta, Eggplant & Pepper

There's been a lot going on around here!  It seems like we haven't had much time at home because of all our out of town trips on the weekends.  All fun stuff, though.  I just have to share a couple of the highlights with you.  First of all, our oldest son graduated from college and I still can't get used to the idea. It was a great weekend in Chicago, with dinners at Anteprima, Va Pensiero and what turned out to be everyone's favorite - Uncommon Ground.  I'm going to be highlighting a cocktail we had in Chicago that we loved. I'll post about that next time.  Here is my Northwestern graduate with his brothers.  We are so proud!

Nick, Barry and Nathan

This past weekend we headed up to Charlevoix for my mother-in-law, Mary's, 70th birthday party.  My sister-in-law organized the party and rented a beautiful yacht out of Bay Harbor for the festivities. All the grandchildren were able to make it and it was a great time.

Mary and Barry on the boat


 

My family on the boat  - me, Nathan, Brian, Nick and Barry
 

We still have quite a full schedule the rest of the summer with a trip to Seattle and Oregon (our favorite places!) coming up. 

On to this post's recipe.  As a food blogger, I get sent a lot of cookbooks from publishers and authors to review. Some of them are great and some of them are just okay.  This book, "The Italian Farmer's Table", I really loved. 

 

The authors, Melissa Pellegrino and Matteo Scialaba, spent a lot of time researching the food for this book. They spent time at thirty agriturismi throughout Italy - farms where you can stay and observe farm life while enjoying authentic regional cooking and accomodations. These two have serious food credentials - they both graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan and Melissa attended culinary schools in Florence.  Melissa also studied pizza and bread making at the famed Sullivan Street Bakery and they both spent years living in Italy and working and cooking on organic farms. Check out their excellent web site. This book is full of great regional recipes and I've been wanting to write about one of them for a while now.  It was hard to pick one recipe because I love so many of them. 

This recipe is for plum tomatoes stuffed with ricotta cheese, eggplant, and onion and topped with cheese and bread crumbs and baked.  So good.  I think it's a great side dish and my mother-in-law had the idea of using it as an appetizer, which would be great if you used smaller tomatoes. Wouldn't a big platter of these look nice at a cookout this summer? The original recipe uses green bell peppers, which is about the only vegetable I think you should never eat, so I substituted red bell pepper.  Use what you prefer.  You will love this dish.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Ricotta, Eggplant and Pepper

 

for a printable recipe, click here

from "The Italian Farmer's Table"

(this recipe is cut in half from the one in the book)

Ingredients:

  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, cut into medium dice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
  • 1/2 small eggplant, cut into medium dice
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  (190 degrees C)

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and flesh, reserving 1/4 cup for the filling.  Salt the insides of the tomatoes and turn them over to drain excess water.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium size skillet and add the red onion and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and the eggplant and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the reserved tomato flesh with a bit of the juices and saute for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Place the ricotta, eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, the grated pecorino cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, herbs and vegetable mixture in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff tomatoes with the filling, using a spoon or a pastry bag without a tip and place stuffing side up on an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the filling is golden brown. Can be served immediately or at room temperature. The tomatoes can be made a day in advance and gently reheated.

 

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Reader Comments (32)

This looks like the perfect summer side dish! Fun seeing a glimpse of your family too.

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKalyn

Gorgeous! Perfect summer dish!

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterblog is the new black

what a pleasure to see a photo of you with your family along with this marvelous looking recipe. thanks for sharing!

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Becky

Awwwh, what a beautiful family you have Elaine, you're surounded by all those handsome men! Congrats to your son. I love the sound of that book I will look out for it. I've stuffed tomatoes with ricotta and cheese before but next time I will add red pepper and eggplant. Enjoy every bit of your summer Elaine!

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I guess we can say you don't like green peppers? I am not a big fan, but don't mind them as much as you!

Great recipe and beautiful family!
Enjoy your summer vacation!
Stacey

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

Delicious! Fresh and cheesy, I love the combination.

Congrats to your graduate! You must be so proud!

And have fun in Oregon again! I'm in Portland, and I can assure that there are a whole host of new restaurants to try! And to change up the wine scene, head up to Hood River if you have the time. They have some great vineyards!

June 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Hey! Congratulations! I can't decide which looks better, your handsome son (I have a beautiful daughter that just graduated from Belmont University!) or those stuffed tomatoes. Just kidding, but you do have a lovely family. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Thank you for all of your recipes.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Well, what can I say? The recipe is great; the website of Melissa and Matteo should be a treasure; your blog, which I use all the time is simply, my favorite; and a beautiful young woman like yourself has no business being so good a cook and a mother to three sons- a college graduate among them!

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ambrosino

Congratulations to your son and you. I think you have enough to do with his success. Wonderful recipe.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMagdalena Palencia

First of all, congrats to the grad. You have a beautiful family and I am glad you are all enjoying being together. Second, you are bad, bad, bad - now I have to buy that cookbook. It sounds like a real winner.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

Hi, Congratulations to your son and it´s nice to see a family having fun together!! Your tomatoes look amazing. Here in Málaga the plum tomatoes are fabulous, that and the fact that I have all the rest of the ingredients handy in the fridge means this recipe will be on our table in record time!! Just a doubt that I hope you can clear up... From your pictures it looks to me you did not completely puree the filling correct?? Let me know if it´s o.k. like that and how you did it for the photos. I think it looks much nicer when you can tell what some of the ingredients are... Thanks and enjoy the rest of the summer season

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel in Spain

From The Italian Dish:

Isabel: You can puree it as coarsely or finely as you like. Just make sure everything is mixed well. Happy cooking!

June 27, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I cannot believe they are your sons you look sooo young and I must say you are a very attractive women, your sons are really handsome they take after their mom. I always love getting your emails on line you have wonderful recipes and I have written to you more than once.
Keep sending the pictures and recipes love your cooking advice on different dishes.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarmella

wow- that looks soo good! i've been needing another stuffed tomato recipe- this really looks delicious!
perfect summer dish!

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlise

What a beautiful family, soooo Italian! Love it!

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

Matt & I were so happy to see your post. I was just thinking of this recipe today, since good tomatoes are finally making their way to the market. I agree with you about green peppers, usually they are my least favorite vegetable.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Pellegrino

From The Italian Dish:

Meilssa: So love your book! It was hard to decided which recipe to write about.

June 27, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

So happy to find your lovely blog through a FB post from the Italian Dish. I have this cookbook and love it, and enjoy following their posts. I'm glad it lead me here as I enjoy food blogs! I've tried many recipes from the book but for some reason haven't tried this...but I will now! I can't wait to explore your blog.

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterteresa s

This sounds and looks delicious. I too had the same question as Isabelle. I think I wouldn't even put the ingredients in the food processor; I would just combine it all by hand and then stuff the tomatoes. I like rustic and chunky! Thanks for the recipe.

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertom

Elaine, I love that when I read your recipes I think 'even I can do that" and the pictures are so helpful. I was wondering...If you didn't have any peppers to use, would pimiento be a good substiute?

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Morley

From The Italian Dish:

Liz: You can do anything you like with this recipe! Be creative - add the things you like. I think pimento would be just fine.

June 28, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Te felicito por tu blog, pero te pediría por favor que pusieras un traductor, me facilitarias mucho el leerte.

Saludos

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Pilar

My kind of meal! Love the family photos too!

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

The picture of your family is lovely! I noticed the picture of your mother looks exactly like you!

June 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCindysoowho

From The Italian Dish:

Maria Pilar:

¡Si usted utiliza el cromo de Google como su hojeador, traducirá automáticamente para usted!

June 29, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Really nice family photos! Our daughter graduated this May as well and is WORKING for a full month now! So the news isn't as dire as is being reported.
Your stuffed tomatoes look very delicious!

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane M

Hi Elaine, Happy 4th from Cincinnati! Made these wonderful little tomato bowls of lusciousness yesterday! WOW! I loved them as did everyone else. I made more filling than I needed and think it will be a good filling for stuffed zucchini or even a roasted veggie lasagna. Thanks for taking the time to share great recipes.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

The family really enjoys the Tomatoes Stuffed with Ricotta, Eggplant and Pepper. I’ve cooked the dish twice, both times on my Big Green Egg. It is a perfect dish for my recently converted vegetarian son. You can find the stuffed tomatoes cooking on the BGE at:

http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1122130&catid=1.

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

From The Italian Dish:

David: Wow, those look great on your Egg!

July 12, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Hi Elaine, I would love to try this recipe for a bbq I'm having. Just wondering if you've tried baking the tomatoes in a bbq? And thank you for all of the wonderful recipes!

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

From The Italian Dish:

Cheryl: Yes, in fact someone commented earlier that they cooked them on the Big Green Egg, which is a terrific grill. Just be sure you put the lid on your grill and create an oven-like environment. Cook them over a medium heat, not direct high heat. Enjoy.

July 25, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Made these last night for our Good Friday meal to go along side salmon. They were wonderful. My family loved them. Great recipes. Thank you.

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaura

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