Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

6 small eggplants, about 8 to 10 ounces each
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil cooking spray

Heat oven to 450F.

Bake eggplants until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer eggplants to a clean surface. Slice off 1/4 of each eggplant lengthwise and reserve the pieces. Hollow out eggplants, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh attached to the skin. Reserve the flesh. Cut removed pieces and flesh of the eggplants into 1/4 inch dice; set aside.

Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil spray and place over medium heat. Stir in the diced eggplant, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper. Cover and cook the eggplant until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and parsley and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Fill the reserved hollowed eggplants with eggplant filling brimming slightly over the top and place in a baking pan large enough to comfortably hold the eggplants. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the balsamella sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk in flour until all the butter has been absorbed and cook 2 minutes. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup milk, while briskly whisking. Briskly whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, 1/4 cup at a time, until all the milk has been added and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and nutmeg. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of pancake batter, 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons balsamella sauce over the top of each filled eggplant and sprinkle tops with Parmesan. Bake until tops are golden and eggplants are heated through, about 20 minutes.



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