INGREDIENTS: SERVES 6
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups short-grain rice (available at Oriental markets and some supermarkets)
3 eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, chopped coarse
3 ribs of celery, sliced thin crosswise
1 green bell pepper, chopped coarse
2 onions, chopped coarse
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/3 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
cayenne to taste
In a small bowl combine well the bread crumbs and the Parmesan. In a heavy saucepan combine the rice, 2 cups water, and salt to taste, bring the water to a boil, and cook the rice, covered, over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and with a melon-ball cutter scoop out the flesh, reserving 4 cups of it and leaving 1/4-inch shells. In a kettle of boiling salted water blanch the eggplant shells in batches for 4 minutes and drain them, inverted, on paper towels.
In a large heavy skillet brown the sausage over moderate heat, stirring, and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Chop the reserved eggplant and in the fat remaining in the skillet cook it with the celery, the bell pepper, and the onions over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browns bits, until the mixture is golden. Add 1 cup water and cook the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup more water and cook the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft.
In a large bowl combine the eggplant mixture, the sausage, the rice, the scallion greens, the parsley, the cayenne, and salt and black pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among the eggplant shells, arrange the eggplants in 2 shallow 15 1/2- by 10 1/2-baking pans, and add 1 cup water to each pan. Bake the eggplants, covered with foil, in a preheated 350°F. oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the eggplants with the bread crumb mixture and broil them in batches under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the topping is golden.
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