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Recipe

Caponata-Stuffed Eggplant

Servings: 4 as a main course

I’ve tried to capture the sweet-sour flavor of eggplant caponata in this stuffed-eggplant dish built upon layers of classic caponata ingredients: roasted eggplant, peppers, onion, garlic, tomato, quick-pickled raisins, and Castelvetrano olives. A farro-based filling makes this a hearty, crowd-pleasing main.

Ingredients

  • Italian eggplant (about 1 lb. each)
  • 6-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Roma or small vine tomatoes (5 to 6 oz. each), seeded and cut into large dice
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (about 8 oz.), cut into large dice
  • 1 medium red onion (about 10 oz.), cut into large dice
  • 3 medium to large cloves garlic, smashed or halved
  • 1 cup farro, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cups lightly packed arugula (about 2 oz.)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 570
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 260
  • Fat (g): 29
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 17
  • Sodium (mg): 710
  • Carbohydrates (g): 75
  • Fiber (g): 12
  • Sugar (g): 24
  • Protein (g): 11

Preparation

  • Position one rack in the lower portion of the oven and another in the upper portion, and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the baking sheet in the oven to warm. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil, and season each half with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and place the eggplant cut side down on the baking sheet. Brush the skin with a thin coating of oil, using the oil remaining on the brush. Carefully cover the eggplant with foil, using oven mitts if needed, and transfer to the lower rack of the oven. Roast until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, pepper, onion, and garlic with 3 Tbs. of the oil until evenly coated. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, toss again, and spread the vegetables in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (The baking sheet should be crowded.) Roast on the upper rack of the oven until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Cook the farro according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Transfer the roasted eggplant cut side down to a kitchen towel or thick stack of paper towels on a baking sheet or large serving platter. Reserve the foil-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the raisins with 2 tsp. warm water, 2 tsp. of the red wine vinegar, and salt to taste, and let sit, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the roasted-vegetable mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the tomato paste, 1 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. of the balsamic vinegar, and the remaining 1 tsp. red wine vinegar, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cooked farro with 3/4 cup of the roasted-vegetable sauce, 1/3 cup of the raisins, the olives, and 2 Tbs. of the pine nuts.
  • Brush the foil-lined baking sheet with oil, and return the drained eggplant halves cut side up to the baking sheet. Pat each eggplant dry once more with paper towels, and season the flesh with a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a fork and your fingers to make a hollow in the center of each eggplant half by gently pushing the softened eggplant flesh toward the skin. Use a spoon to fill each eggplant center with the farro stuffing, dividing it evenly among the halves, about 1/2 cup each, more if you like. Return the eggplant to the lower rack of the oven and cook until warmed through, about 12 minutes.
  • While the eggplant are warming, in a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the arugula, 1 Tbs. of the remaining raisins (more if you like), and the remaining 1 Tbs. pine nuts, and toss to thoroughly coat the arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully transfer the eggplant halves to a serving dish. Spoon the remaining roasted-vegetable sauce over the farro filling, about 3 Tbs. on each eggplant half. Divide the arugula salad among the eggplant halves, and serve immediately.

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