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
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! East Lansing
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
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T pine nuts
Here’s what you do:
Mix the ingredients for the filling and incorporate all of it with a fork. Set aside.
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.
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…..