1 medium black eggplant
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ripe medium tomato, peel/seed/chop
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dried bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups boiling water
2 tblsps minced Italian flatleaf parsley (optional)
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the flesh, scoop it out, coarsely chop if pieces are big, and put into a bowl. (Leave ½ inch thickness of flesh and skin – for stuffing later). Preheat oven to 400.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and eggplant and sauté for 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent and eggplant is tender. Add cumin, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer mixture for 3-4 minutes, turning several times to mix it well and almost all the moisture is absorbed.
Stuff the eggplant shells with the mixture, top with breadcrumbs, then with cheese and finally drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil atop each. Place shells in baking dish and try to prop them up evenly. Pour boiling water into bottom of dish making sure it doesn’t come close to the top of the shells. Cover dish with lid or foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove shells to plates using two large spoons. Sprinkle tops of eggplant shells with parsley (optional) and serve.