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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Melanzane a Beccafico | How to Make Sicilian Stuffed Eggplants

This dish is a variation on “Sarde a Beccafico,” a delicious Sicilian recipe made with fresh sardines. Not all of us are lucky enough to have fresh sardines available, but thankfully Sicilians also invented this version which uses eggplants instead. It’s an easy and incredibly delicious vegetable side that’s sure to impress!

Melanzane a Beccafico | How to Make Sicilian Stuffed Eggplants

Watch the Pasta Grammar video:


Makes: Serves 4 to 6

Cook Time: 1 hour

For this recipe, you will need:

  • ⅓ cup (50 g) raisins

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into thin rounds

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 2 cups (260 g) plain, dry bread crumbs

  • 2-3 tablespoons (7-10g) chopped parsley

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3.5 ounces (100 g) grated caciocavallo cheese, or to taste (substitute with a very sharp cheddar or pecorino if necessary)

  • ⅓ cup (50 g) pine nuts

  • ½ orange zest, grated

  • ~½ large white onion, cut into roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide wedges

  • Bay leaves (preferably fresh but dry will work as well)

Preheat the oven to 385°F (195°C). Place the raisins in a small bowl or cup and fill with water to cover. Let them soak while you prepare the eggplants and filling.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a parchment-lined baking tray so that they don’t overlap. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they have softened slightly and are beginning to wrinkle.

While the eggplant bakes, prepare the bread crumb filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped parsley, minced garlic, grated cheese, and pine nuts. Drain the raisins, squeeze the excess water out, and add these as well. Mix thoroughly and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Finally, stir in just enough olive oil to lightly moisten the bread crumbs (about 2-3 tablespoons, but adjust to taste).

When the eggplant is cooked, let the slices cool to the touch. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish with olive oil and preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

Take an eggplant slice and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the bread crumb filling into the center. Roll the slice up (like a carpet) to enclose the filling and place the stuffed roll into the pie dish. Repeat with the remaining slices until the dish is full of a single layer of rolls.

Separate the onion wedge layers and insert a single piece in between each eggplant roll. Do the same with bay leaves (you can break the leaves into smaller pieces, if necessary). Use the remaining bread crumb filling to generously sprinkle the top of the dish to cover the rolls. Drizzle the top with olive oil.

Bake the dish for 15-20 minutes, until the bread crumbs are crispy and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Buon appetito!

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Apr 08

Saw the video this morning and made this for a light dinner tonight. Delicious and not at all difficult. This could be a sophisticated vegetarian entree or side for a dinner party, or a weeknight dinner. The flavors are incredibly well balanced and surprisingly delicate. I’m Sicilian and never had it before, so thank you Eva and Harper!

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