Melanzane Ripiene is a traditional and famous italian recipe.
- 75g wheat or rye berries
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 x 275g aubergines/eggplant (small to medium in size), halved lengthways
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons tomato purée
- 550g (approximately 5–6 large) tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large tinned anchovy fillets, drained, or 1½ heaped teaspoons capers, chopped
- 12 large basil leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve
- 100g mozzarella, grated
- 3 heaped tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
First, put the wheat or rye berries into a saucepan, cover with plenty of boiling water and boil for 55 minutes or until tender, topping up with water as needed.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
Heat 3 tablespoonfuls of olive oil in a deep frying pan and gently fry the onion.
While the onion begins to soften, run a very sharp knife around the edge of the aubergine shells, about 7.5mm in from the edge.
Then cut almost through to the base in criss-cross cuts and use a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh.
Roughly chop the flesh and stir into the onion. Season and cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until the aubergine looks half cooked.
Add the garlic for the final couple of minutes.
Brush the aubergine shells with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Turn down the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
Add the tomato purée to the aubergines in the pan and stir for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes and anchovies or capers.
Season and add 5 tablespoons water before covering and simmering gently for 10 minutes.
Stir in the drained wheat berries and basil, taste for seasoning and leave to cool. Spoon the stuffing into the shells.
Top with the cheeses and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. (Alternatively you can leave everything to cool, then stuff and top with cheese before baking, adding 10 minutes to the cooking time.)
Sprinkle with a little chopped basil and serve.