8 eggplants - use the long thin eggplants for this recipe
1 red onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 chillies, finely sliced (I used peperoncini)
200 grams beef mince
300 grams cherry tomatoes, quartered
buffalo mozzarella, roughly ripped into bite sized pieces
Prepare the eggpants:
Slice the eggplants in half lengthways - score the surface in a criss cross pattern. Boil or steam the eggplants until the flesh is tender.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon leaving a thin layer next to the eggplant skin - this is to stop the eggplant from collapsing.
Using a mezzaluna or a knife, roughly chop the flesh and keep to one side while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
If you're feeling lazy, place the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a pan over a medium heat and when the butter has melted, add in the chopped vegetables. Sauté until soft and just starting to colour - about 20 minutes. Add in the sliced chillies and cook for a few minutes before crumbing in the mince beef. Stir this well and cook until the meat has browned (about 5 to 10 minutes) before adding the reserved eggplant flesh. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle and then stir through the cherry tomatoes. After 5 minutes remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool.
When cold, add in a beaten egg and stir through a generous handful of grated parmesan - taste and adjust the seasoning.
Lay the eggplant shells over a baking paper lined oven tray.
Add a couple of pieces of mozzarella to each shell and then generously top with the filling - sprinkle over with more grated parmesan
Bake in a preheated 160°C oven until heated through - around 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve at once with a simple green salad.