500g white button mushrooms
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
250g lean beef mince
1 x 400g tin diced / crushed tomatoes
4 medium eggplants
150g mozzarella cheese, grated
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
Chilli flakes, for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for cooking
Blitz mushrooms in a food processor or finely chop.
Heat a large dry saucepan / Dutch oven over medium heat and cook the mushrooms until they release all their liquid and are dry and turning golden on the edges.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Remove from the pan.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the onion, carrot and celery.
Cook until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the beef mince and cook until browned.
Return the mushrooms to the pan along with the tinned tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Rinse the tin of tomatoes out with a little water and add to the pan.
Bring to a simmer.
Gently simmer until the sauce has thickened and the flavour has developed.
Taste to adjust seasoning.
While the sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 200˚C.
Cut the eggplants in half and slice a criss cross pattern into each half.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place cut side down on a lined baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes, depending on their size until nice and tender.
Switch oven on to grill mode.
When the sauce has thickened, spoon a generous mound onto each eggplant half.
Scatter over the grated mozzarella.
Place under the grill and cook until the cheese melts and begins to get golden brown spots all over.
Scatter the eggplant boats with chilli flakes and fresh basil leaves and serve.