RECIPE & VIDEO: Eggplant Meatballs filled with Cheese and a Garden Tomato Sauce


My 70 year Italian mom is so cute on Facebook. Lately, she has been sharing Italian "Tasty" videos like the rest of us Americans. But I have to say, the Italian ones are a lot more labor intensive yet look a lot more fresh and delicious. Just say'n.

So I have saved a few of them and decided to tackle these stuffed eggplant meatballs one day, as I was buried under a mound of eggplants from my garden. (I still am and it's mid October!) These Italian recipes are all in grams and not quite as organized and detailed as our recipes on this side of the pond. I tackled the math and added some steps to make the eggplants even better-and put it all here so you don't have to. 
You're welcome!

I would imagine you can premake and freeze the meatballs after browning them, and use them for a garden fresh meal during the cold winter months. Hmm. I have 7 more eggplants in the garden. Looks like a weekend project is getting on the to-do list.

Eggplant Cheese Stuffed Meatballs with Garden Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

olive oil 
1 1/4 pounds of eggplant, peeled
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce (recipe below)
1/3 of a cup of breadcrumbs plus a 2 cups extra for rolling the balls in
1 egg 
salt and pepper 
1/2 tablespoon of fresh basil 
1 teaspoon of garlic powder 
1/2 cup crumbled stale bread, moistened in water
1 cup of chopped fresh mozzarella, diced 

extra basil for mixing with the sauce before serving

Directions:

Make the sauce (see below)
Can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days or frozen.

To make the eggplant meatballs 



Cut up the eggplant into cubes, sprinkle with salt generously and lay them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Cover with paper towels and let sit for 11/2 hours to draw out a lot of the water.



Quickly rinse and pat dry. Fry in a few tablespoonfuls olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until softened, then drain. 

Put the eggplant in a bowl and add the Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of chopped basil, garlic powder, softened stale bread, one egg, salt and pepper to taste and the breadcrumbs. Mix well.




Shape some meatball mixture with your hand into a flat pancake (about 4" in diameter) and nestle in some of the mozzarella cheese at the center and then fold the eggplant batter around the center into a ball. Roll them in the extra breadcrumbs on a plate. 


Heat more olive oil (a few tablespoonfuls or so) in a large saute pan and fry balls in the olive oil until brown on all sides. Work in batches and drain on paper towels. Once done, put them back in the sauté pan with a couple cups of sauce and extra basil leaves on top. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until heated through.

Serve with cooked pasta and with extra sauce ladled on top.


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