Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant as a vegetable can seem kind of dark and mysterious. But I promise you this, eggplant is actually incredibly delicious and versatile.

When eggplant is thinly sliced and baked it becomes a fantastic alternative to noodles. The eggplant has a light and delicate flavor that is the perfect little vehicle to deliver cheese and marinara to your mouth. Plus you can totally tell yourself that since you used eggplant this is basically health food. Just ignore all that glorious melty cheese.  Or you know, don’t. Because it’s amazing. Cheese is fabulous.Eggplant-Rollatini-1

In order to make this beautiful Eggplant Rollatini you will need an epic marinara. If you are in a really serious bind you can use your favorite can of store bought sauce. Sad sigh. But my marinara recipe is fabulous and easy to make. I got it from my Italian Grandma, and she knows what’s up.  In fact you should just make a double batch and freeze half. Check out the full marinara recipe here.Eggplant-Rollatini-3

To make Eggplant Rollatini you need two medium eggplants. You will cut off the ends of each eggplant, and then slice them lengthwise into thin quarter inch strips. I used my trusty mandolin to get consistent slices.  Sprinkle both sides of the slices with kosher salt to sweat the eggplant, lay them flat and set aside for 15 minutes.   After 15 minutes pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Drizzle the eggplant slices with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. The eggplant will be beginning to brown and become very tender and flexible. But if you overdo it, the eggplant will fall apart. So keep an eye out.  Set aside to allow the eggplant slices to cool to room temperature.

Eggplant-Rollatini-5

While you are baking your eggplant slices you can start putting together your filling.  Ideally, you will want to drain your ricotta cheese over night, or at lease for a couple of hours before you start. This will be especially important if you are using part skim ricotta which can tend to be a bit watery.  You will mix together 8 oz of ricotta with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley.

Eggplant-Rollatini-4

Spread a light layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, and now we are ready to assemble the rollatini! Take one slice of eggplant, and then put a generous spoonful of cheese filling at the bottom. Carefully roll the eggplant up into a cute little rollatini, and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat until your pan is stuffed full of rollatinis.

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Spoon a little sauce along the middle of each row of rollatini, and then top with some thin slices of fresh mozzarella. Bake in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until all the cheese is nicely melted and bubbly.

Eggplant-Rollatini-8
If you are are a pasta addict like me, you might take this opportunity to make some nice spaghetti to go with your Eggplant Rollatini. But you totally don’t need to, these babies can stand on their own.  I’ve recently discovered the Rummo brand of pasta, and I’m in love. If you have the opportunity to buy this at your local grocery store you should stock up big time.
Eggplant Rollatini
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Eggplant Rollatini

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Eggplants
  • 8 oz Ricotta Cheese, drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Italian Parsely, chopped
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzerlla, sliced
  • 16 oz of your favorite marina
  • Kosher Salt
  • Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Cut off the ends of each eggplant, and then slice them lengthwise into thin quarter inch strips. I used a mandolin to get consistent slices.

  3. Sprinkle both sides of the slices with kosher salt to sweat the eggplant, lay them flat and set aside for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels to remove the excess moisture.
  4. Drizzle the eggplant slices with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. The eggplant will be beginning to brown and become very tender and flexible. But if you overdo it, the eggplant will fall apart, so keep an eye on them. Set aside to allow the eggplant slices to cool to room temperature.
  5. While you are baking your eggplant slices you can start putting together your filling. Ideally, you will want to drain your ricotta cheese over night, or at lease for a couple of hours before you start. This will be especially important if you are using part skim ricotta which can tend to be a bit watery. You will mix together 8 oz of ricotta with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley.
  6. Spread a light layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, and now we are ready to assemble the rollatini!
  7. Take one slice of eggplant, and then put a generous spoonful of cheese filling at the bottom. Carefully roll the eggplant up into a cute little rollatini, and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat until your pan is stuffed full of rollatini. You should have two full rows.
  8. Increase your oven temperature to 375. Spoon a little sauce along the middle of each row of rollatini, and then top with slices of fresh mozzarella. Bake in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, or until all the cheese is nicely melted and bubbly.
  9. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan. Enjoy!

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