Tomatoes Stuffed with Ricotta, Eggplant, Peppers

from "The Italian Farmer's Table"

(this recipe is cut in half from the one in the book)

5 plum tomatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 red onion, cut into medium dice
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
1/2 small eggplant, cut into medium dice
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  (190 degrees C)

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and flesh, reserving 1/4 cup for the filling.  Salt the insides of the tomatoes and turn them over to drain excess water.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a medium size skillet and add the red onion and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and the eggplant and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the reserved tomato flesh with a bit of the juices and saute for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Place the ricotta, eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, the grated pecorino cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, herbs and vegetable mixture in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff tomatoes with the filling, using a spoon or a pastry bag without a tip and place stuffing side up on an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the filling is golden brown. Can be served immediately or at room temperature. The tomatoes can be made a day in advance and gently reheated.

The Italian Dish