Eggplant always seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it audience. But "even people who claim they don't like eggplant love these easy meatballs," says Christine Datian. You can use a small ice cream scoop to shape them quickly. PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour.
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds ground lean lamb or beef
1 1/2 cups finely chopped eggplant (about 4 oz.)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups purchased marinara sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
6 pocket breads (5 in. wide), cut in half
Bell pepper rings (optional)
How to Make It
In a large bowl, mix the egg, lamb, eggplant, onion, parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them 1 inch apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
Bake meatballs in a 425° oven until they are well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
Spoon out and discard any fat from pan. Stir in the marinara sauce and Worcestershire, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan and turning meatballs to coat. Bake until sauce is steaming, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
Spoon meatballs into a bowl and scrape sauce over them. Spoon meatballs and sauce into pocket breads and tuck in bell pepper rings if desired.