Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Chick-Pea and Eggplant Puree

Peppers
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
6 ounces button mushrooms
1 pound mixed vine-ripened red and yellow cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
4 medium yellow bell peppers with stems attached
1 tablespoon pine nuts
Chick-pea and Eggplant Purée
3/4 pound eggplant (about 1 small)
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1 cup rinsed and drained canned chick-peas
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water

Puree: Cut eggplant into 3/4-inch-thick slices and sprinkle both sides with salt. Arrange eggplant in a large colander set over a bowl and let stand 30 minutes to drain. Preheat broiler. Rinse eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Broil eggplant on a rack of a broiler pan about 4 inches from heat until deep golden, about 6 minutes on each side. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel off skins, scraping all flesh from skins and discarding them. In a food processor pulse eggplant with remaining ingredients until just puréed and season with salt and pepper. Purée may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Peppers: Preheat oven to 425° F. Trim and quarter mushrooms. Halve tomatoes lengthwise. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté shallot, stirring, until softened. Reduce heat to moderate and cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Halve bell peppers lengthwise through stems and discard seeds and ribs. Season pepper shells with salt and pepper and in a large baking pan bake in upper third of oven 10 minutes. Spoon chick-pea and eggplant purée evenly into shells, smoothing tops. Mound mushroom mixture onto center of purée and sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake stuffed peppers in upper third of oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, grill pepper shells, skin sides up, on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 7 to 10 minutes, or until slightly charred. Transfer shells to a work surface and stuff them as above. Grill stuffed peppers, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes.)

Makes 4 Servings.



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