Stuffed Eggplant (version XVII)

1-1/2 pounds eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup recipe-ready crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt optional
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Scoop out inside of eggplant, leaving 1/4 inch shell. Set shell aside. Chop eggplant meat and set aside. Melt half the butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, chopped eggplant and bell pepper 3-4 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in tomato, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Discard excess liquid from skillet. Stir in cheese and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Divide mixture evenly into eggplant shells. Arrange eggplant in a buttered baking pan. Melt remaining butter in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Stir in remaining breadcrumbs. Sprinkle buttered breadcrumbs over eggplant. Bake 30 minutes or until tops are golden.



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