Stuffed vegetables from the past. An Italian recipe, from the heart of Liguria area, Genova! Second local famous dish after Pesto Alla Genovese.
For the stuffing:
- 6 cups of day- old bread, crusts removed (about 6 thick slices)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 30-40 gr dried porcini, soaked in 2 cups warm water
- 10-12 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 30-40 gr pine nuts
- 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
For the vegetable assortment:
- 2 or more medium zucchini
- 2 or more yellow or other colorful bell peppers
- 2 or more large white stuffing mushrooms
- 1 or 2 eggplants
- 2 or more ripe medium tomatoes
- 2 or more large and flat onions
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
- salt & pepper
- Firstly boil zucchini and peppers for 6 minutes and onions and eggplants for 10 minutes, and let cool.
- Slice boiled vegetables in half lengthwise. Scoop out the central pulp (save it in a bowl) and any seeds with a teaspoon, so each half resembles a hollowed boat.
- Pull out the stems of white mushrooms, leaving the hollow caps for stuffing.
- Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and squeeze out the seeds to make concavities for stuffing.
- When all the vegetables are prepped, put the pieces in a large baking pan.
To make the stuffing:
- Put the bread cubes in a bowl and pour the almond milk over them. Toss the bread cubes and let them sit for a couple of minutes to absorb the liquid. When softened, gather and press the cubes together, squeezing out any excess almond milk. Place the moistened bread into a large bowl, tearing it into shreds.
- Mix in a food processor the inside of the vegetables you scooped out earlier (zucchini, eggplants, onions, tomatoes) and add this pulp into the bread bowl.
- Lift the rehydrated porcini pieces from the soaking liquid, squeeze firmly (saving all the liquid). Chop them into fine bits. Scatter the chopped porcini, anchovy, basil, salt and pepper on top of the bread bowl. Toss and mix together with your hands.
- Pour in the beaten eggs, and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with your hands to form a well- blended, fairly dense stuffing.
To stuff and bake the vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Fill each vegetable piece with a tablespoon. For zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms, fill the cavities with stuffing and put all the pieces back in the baking pan, with a bit of space between the pieces.
- Sprinkle all the vegetable pieces evenly with salt. Scrape any olive oil left in the vegetable bowl over the stuffed pieces, and pour half of the reserved porcini- soaking liquid (leaving behind any gritty residue) into the bottom of the baking pan. Cover the pan with a tent of foil, pressing it against the sides and making sure it doesn’t touch the stuffing or tops of the vegetables.
- Bake for about half an hour, until the vegetables, have started to soften and release juices. Then remove the foil tents and bake until stuffing is crisped and brown, another 30 minutes or so.
- Serve hot from the oven, or let the vegetables cool and serve warm or at room temperature.