Roasted Peppers Filled with Eggplant, Summer Squash and Basil

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3 medium red bell peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
ground black pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 medium japanese eggplant, diced (about 2 cups)
3 medium zucchini, diced (about 2 cups)
8 gaeta olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 ounces fontina cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove stem, seeds and membrane. Brush insides lightly with olive oil, using a total of 1 tablespoon; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake until the flesh of the pepper is soft but still supports itself, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven to 375 degrees. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet; add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and eggplant; sauté for about 5 minutes, until eggplant is tender. Add zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper; cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until zucchini is tender. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Add olives and Fontina to vegetables. Set aside 2 tablespoons Parmesan to sprinkle on top; add remainder to vegetables. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a baking dish. Fill each roasted pepper half with a generous 1/2 cup vegetable mixture. Place in the baking dish, cover, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tablespoons Parmesan; bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons basil and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.

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