Here is one of my most favorite Italian dishes.... Eggplant Rollatini.
Some back story of me and Eggplant :
Now, up until a few months ago, I never would have EVER taken a bite of this dish. I swore that I would not like it. Call it a childhood thing? Yes maybe it was. But I was standing strong! STRONG I tell ya! I was never going to eat eggplant.
Then one day I ordered take out with a friend. I ordered the lasagna, he ordered the Eggplant Rollatini..... I have to say the dishes did look the same, and these two really did. So I started to eat what I thought was my lasagna. It seemed like there was something different but I thought they may have forgotten the meat... then it hit me... I WAS EATING EGGPLANT !!!!!!
It was actually good.... Then 2 seconds later our dishes were changed back... Needless to say I was a changed girl.... And I haven't looked back!
ANYWAY.... Here is my recipe for Eggplant Rollatini.
The line up.... This will make 4 servings....
1 can of tomato sauce, 1 egg, 1 eggplant, 1 box of angel hair pasta, Italian flavored bread crumbs, Mozzarella shredded cheese, a small container of Ricotta cheese, and that is about it.
Start with one egg.
Crack it open in to a bowl, then with a fork, whip it up.
Put a large frying pan on the stove and pour in some oil and turn up the heat to a medium to high temp.
Grab your Italian bread crumbs.
Pour them out in to a plate.
Spread them out, no need to be perfect... just spread out.
Grab a decent sized eggplant. I didn't know how to pick out one of these, being this was my first time cooking with eggplant... Every single one seemed to be on the soft side... so I guessed "soft" is ripe? The one I ended up picking was the only one without bruises on it.
Cut off all the skin, making sure you do not cut away to much of the "meat" of the fruit... Te heheh Meat of fruit.
When all the skin is off slice the eggplant from stem to tip.
Now... you can see here, you do not want to leave these to sit for too long.... or they will start to brown on you.
Grab one slice at a time and give them an egg bath
Make sure they are completely covered with egg, HA, eggplant dipped in egg... I wonder if this is how Eggplant Rollatini it came to be?
ANYWAY... let the extra egg run off the slice. (Heheh running egg !)
Then take the eggplant slice and place it in the bread crumbs
Turn it over and make sure it is completely covered in crumbs.
Then take the slice to the frying pan...
ALERT ! The oil will be very hot, despite is calm demeanor in the pan, so be careful of splattering oil when you place the eggplant slice in to the pan.
my oil wasn't up as high as it should be, but that's ok if this happens, just adjust your fire.
I fit about 2 large and 1 small slice in the pan at a time.
when they start to brown flip them over so they can brown on both sides.
Do those steps for all the slices. I had 8 decent sized slices from my one eggplant.
Place the slices on a plate with some paper towel to soak up all the extra oil.
Grab your small baking dish.
I didn't want my pieces to be too oily so I patted them with paper towel on both sides.
I used this chunky vegetable sauce.... I like it, but you can use any sauce (or "gravy" ) you like in your dish.... Remember you are making this to your liking too... so pick a good one.
Pour some of the sauce in to the bottom of the pan. Enough to cover the bottom, more then what I show here.
Now grab a slice of eggplant...
And your Ricotta Cheese Mmmmmmmmmm
Scoop up a decent amount. Again I must say.... Mmmmmm
Then spread it over 3/4's of the slice.
Now here is the fun part. I guess this is where the "Roll" comes from in the "Rollatini"
Take the end with the Ricotta cheese and start to roll it up.
You don't need to roll it too tight, or all the yummy Ricotta will ooze out.
See how nice and neat that looks.... yummy.
Place each roll in to the backing dish with the seam side down, so they don't unravel.
I found multiple recipes on line, some with meat some with out. So I decided to try half with prasuto and half just cheese.
I placed the prasuto on first then spread Ricotta over 3/4's of the slice and rolled them up.
After you have rolled up 8 slices, it should look like this in the pan.
Yummy I had to show it twice.
Grab your sauce/gravy and pour it all over the rolls.
Then grab a heaping handful of shredded Mozzarella cheese and spread it all around the top.
Place the dish in to the oven that was preheated at 350degreese. This only needs to be baked for 15 minutes, but you can leave it in for a few minutes longer to crisp the top cheese a bit, if you like.
While the Rollatini is baking this will be a good time to cook the pasta. I chose Angel Hair pasta because it is a light pasta, unlike the heavy cheese and sauce of the Rollatini
Grab enough for your family....
Break the pasta in half and cook them for about 8 minutes.
Mmmmm Looks perfect.
By now the dish has finished baking, so you can remove it from the oven and place it on a cooling rack
Grab your strainer and place it in to the sink, then pour the Angel Hair pasta in.
I love this part.... Ever since I was a kid, I would run in to the kitchen and listen for the sink to POP... When ever the hot water from the pasta pot would hit the cold sink, you would her POP. I think I was sure it would do something more then just POP, but even though it only popped, I was happy, and would run away giggiling... I was an odd kid ;-)
Scoop up some pasta.
Place it in to a dish or a bowl, which ever floats your boat.
Then scoop up two Eggplant Rolls and place them on top.
Sprinkle on some extra cheese and some parsley. I didn't have fresh parsley today, so i just grabbed the dry stuff.... works well enough for me.
Mmmmmmmm look at that Ricotta cheese !!!!!
After slaving away over a hot oven ;-) I decided a glass of wine would go very well with this dish... and it did.... Mmmmmm
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do... and maybe someone you who have never thought that Eggplant would be a yummy meal will try it too and realize that it's actually a very yummy subsatue for meats or more layers of heavy pasta.