Eggplant Polpettes


My mom has been anxious to cook with me since I’ve become obsessed with cooking these past few months, so we finally set a date to spend some time together in the kitchen.  I was not the easiest teenager to get along with growing up (OK, I was a complete uber-bitch) and my usual encounters with my mom were usually nothing more than a few quick sentences over dinner.  I now regret not taking the time to spend time with her and not learning family recipes, so cooking now is my attempt to make up for lost time.  And  I was adamant about creating something Italian that I hadn’t done before, but fell short on any ideas outside the basic, pasta, cheese, pizza and lasagna categories.  In venting to Jim about my lack of creativity, he (thankfully) remembered a dish we learned probably 2 years ago, one that was surprisingly vegetarian, although we were far from meat-free at the time.  Jim works with Guiseppe, an older Italian man who is quite possibly the sweetest individual I have ever met, aside from the fact that I can generally only understand 50% of what he says.  Some of my happiest times have been in his little kitchen, cooking with him and Jim, drinking wine and just  loving life.  He uses the simplest ingredients and the plainest pasta, but I am consistently overwhelmed at how delicious everything he makes is.  His polpette recipe was one we LOVED and probably one of the first we ever learned, and I was shocked that I didn’t recall it as I racked my brain for recipes.  This was the perfect idea for my cooking lesson with mom, but we decided to do an eggplant variation since the original isn’t the healthiest of dishes.


1 large eggplant, divided

3 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

3/4 cup, parsley, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4  tsp sea salt

6 tbsp olive oil

Whole wheat flour for coating


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat each half of the eggplant with 1 tbsp of oil each, then season each side with 1/8 tsp sea salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Set on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes or until center of eggplants are mushy
  • Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a  large bowl and mix
  • When the eggplants are done, scrape out all the meat (some of it may need to be cut if it’s too stringy), and remove the excess water by placing on a wire strainer.  Set aside in a separate bowl
  • Add eggs and garlic to the eggplant and mash together until it reaches a creamy consistency
  • Combine all ingredients and mix together
  • Roll into golf ball sized balls, and if they are too sticky, lightly coat with flour before frying (should make about 12 balls)
  • Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a frying pan on medium heat
  • Add balls to oil and cook for about 10 minutes, rotating on all sides so that they are evenly cooked

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