Eggplants Stuffed with Grano and Olive Oil (Grano di Melanzana e Olio)

  • 6-8 eggplants
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill or mint leaves
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 large onions (finely chopped)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grano or Pearled Soft White Wheat (ND)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 medium tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  1. Combine 4 cups water, salted as you would for pasta, and Grano in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring frequently, until Grano is tender but still chewy, about 30-35 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Cut about 1/2 inch off stem ends of eggplants, shape into corklike lids and reserve. These will later serve as covers. Using an apple corer scoop out the pulp and reserve, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell all around. Sprinkle eggplant pulp with salt and let stand. In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onions and sauté until soft but not browned, stirring frequently. Wash the eggplant pulp in a bowl of cold water. Discard the seeds and squeeze dry. Add to the onions and sauté a few minutes. Add drained Grano, tomatoes, parsley, dill, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring almost continuously. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning. Spoon stuffing into eggplant and cover with reserved stem ends. Place side by side in a heavy casserole. Add the 1 1/2 cups of warm water and sprinkle with additional salt. Cover and cook over low heat about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to serving platter. Cover and chill. Garnish with lemon wedges.