Tuesday, November 23, 2010

eggplant rollatini



Admittedly, this recipe is a bit more involved than some others, but the final product is so lovely and so special, that I think it’s worth the effort. This would be an excellent entrée for a vegetarian dinner party – it’s that good. But don’t hesitate to make it for your family- they’ll thank you. I ate something similar to this at a restaurant in East Lansing a few years ago and since then I’ve tried to imitate what I tasted…..  I think I have finally landed on the perfect combo of flavors and textures. I must admit that I’m pretty proud of this meal!

One note: this only makes 2 portions of 3 rollatinis each. Also, if you plan to serve this with pasta, you should double the sauce.


Here’s what you need:
1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise in ¼ inch slices – do this very carefully. There’s no need to remove the skin.
3 T Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the filling:
½ C crumbled feta cheese
¼ C ricotta cheese
1 t lemon juice
½ t lemon zest
½ t dried thyme
¼ t red pepper flakes
¼ t salt

For the sauce:
2 T olive oil
¼ C onion, minced very fine
1 T garlic, minced
1 C chopped Roma tomatoes
1 C chopped red bell pepper
2 T dry white wine
2 t tomato paste
¼ C half and half

Topping:
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T pine nuts



Here’s what you do:
Step One
Mix the ingredients for the filling and incorporate all of it with a fork. Set aside.

Step Two
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Arrange sliced eggplant on rack and brush liberally with olive oil. Salt and pepper each slice. Bake for about 8 minutes.
Turn the eggplant over and repeat on the other side for another 8 minutes.




When the eggplant is done, allow it to rest under foil for about 10 minutes. It will do some more cooking later, but you certainly want it nice and soft now. 

Step Three
Lower the oven to 350 degrees.  Sautee the onion, tomatoes, peppers and garlic for about 10 minutes or until very soft and smelling great. Do not allow to brown, only soften. Add the wine and tomato paste and simmer for a few minutes more. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes.


Puree the vegetables and ¼ C half and half until reasonably smooth. 



Step Four: aka – The Fun Step
Place about ½ sauce in the bottom of a small casserole.
Carefully spread 1/6 of the cheese filling over each eggplant slice. Roll up starting from the narrow end  - rolling toward the round end. Place rolls seam side down on sauce.


Smother with the remaining sauce. Top with mozzarella and pine nuts. Bake for about 20 minutes or until melty and brown. You can give them a few minutes under the broiler for a nice finished color at the end of baking.


I’m telling you these are fantastic – you vegetarians out there know what I mean when I say that eggplant is the ‘forgotten’ vegetable. You non-vegetarians out there will be totally satisfied with this dish because it is so hearty.  You could serve this with pasta (see note above about doubling the sauce if serving with pasta), a green salad, a simple side vegetable, crusty bread, or as is…..



7 comments:

  1. It's so neat that there are other versions of Eggplant Rollatini. Yours, Tracy, seems more of a Greek version. The recipe that my husband copied from Luciano's Italian Restaurant in Ludington calls for the eggplant to contain a couple of very thin slices of prosciutto and basil leaves. He bakes it in a simple marinara sauce prepared from pureed San Marzano tomatoes. It is topped with lots of shredded mozzarella and parmesan and baked until bubbly. It is a real treat - a bit time consuming, but he makes a 9 x 13 pan so we have many meals from one batch.
    I'm anxious to try your meatless version.

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  2. @Gail - thanks for the comment! I'd be interested to know if your husband peels his eggplant or leaves the skin on? That's always an issue when cooking eggplant, isn't it? His recipe looks good too!

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  3. I really like reading your blog -- I just nominated you for a Stylish Blogger Award!

    http://itsakeeper.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/a-stylish-blogger-award/

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  4. first time here
    delicious eggplant rollatini and pictures

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  5. Yum! I'd like to try this one. I posted something similar last year but I think the feta you add would give this a nice tang. By the way, I found you via the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers Google group, which I admit is a bit confusing to me.

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  6. Liza, thanks for stopping by. I agree, the whole Michigan Food Bloggers thing has me stumped! Nice to meet you here!

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  7. I'll have to try this one. Ricotta, feta and eggplant; it must be delicious!

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