Sometime within the last year or two I realized that I actually really like eggplant. That's as long as it's prepared and cooked properly. I was afraid of it as a kid, as I'm sure most kids are, and never thought to try it again until recently. I'm not sure where I saw or read how to prepare eggplant, but I thought I'd give it a try a couple weeks ago and decided on eggplant rollatini. I didn't follow a recipe, just an idea I had of what I wanted it to be, and like most foods I love, it involves tomato sauce and ricotta cheese! I used my tomato sauce recipe and the ravioli filling recipe for these, the rest is made up by yours truly. Not exactly rocket science here, just a little common sense and a little suggestion from Bec to bake the eggplant instead of fry it. Good idea my dear. This is a great recipe to use up the leftover ravioli filling and extra tomato sauce from your last Italian feast!
Italian-seasoned Bread Crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups)
fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil (optional)
Cut off the two ends of the eggplant and peel with a vegetable peeler. Next bust out your mandolin and play a tune, uhh, oh, wrong mandolin. Set the mandolin for 3/16" setting and cut up the entire eggplant into slices. If you don't have a mandolin, you can use a banjo instead. I mean you can just use your big knife and try to cut thin strips about 3/16" thick. Now lay out all the slices on a wire rack and sprinkle both sides liberally with table salt. This step is necessary to remove the bitterness and some of the moisture from the eggplant. Let them sit for 15 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Now rinse the eggplant with running water removing the salt and pat dry.
Next in a couple big bowls or plates, add the bread crumbs to one and the eggs to the other and beat them well. Now dip each strip of eggplant in the egg and then the bread crumbs, coating evenly, and lay them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until they just start to turn golden brown. Check the underside to make sure they are not burning. You can flip them after 5 minutes if they are starting to brown on the bottom.
Add enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Once the strips are cooled for a couple minutes you can now work with them. Take a big tablespoon of ricotta filling and place it on one end of the eggplant, then roll them up and add them to the baking dish.
Add tomato sauce to the top of the rollatini's, just enough to cover most of them. Then place some mozzarella strips on top covering each one.
Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese starts to melt quite a bit, then put under the broiler for a few minutes just until the cheese starts to brown nicely. Keep your eye on it and don't walk away, this happens very quickly. Sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil and let cool for a few minutes so it's not too runny, or just dig right in, your call. Serves 4.
Download a printable recipe here!