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Involtini di Melanzana (Eggplant Rolls)

Seres 4-6

For the eggplant:
2 large eggplants
3 large eggs
3-1/2 oz | 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 oz | 7 tbsp olive oil, for frying
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
17 oz | 2 cups crushed tomatoes, San Marzano preferably
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pinch sugar

For the filling:
11 oz | 1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese
3 oz | 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 oz | 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg

To serve:
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 small bunch basil, leaves only, sliced

For the eggplant: 

Cut the eggplant into long slices, about 1/2" thick.

Season with salt on both sides and arrange on a large platter lined with a double-layer of paper towels, weighing down the top of the slices with heavy plates for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pat the top of the eggplant dry with more paper towels.

Beat the eggs with 1 tbsp water and some salt and pepper in a shallow dish. 

Place flour in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying or sauté pan set over a moderate heat until hot. 

Working in batches, dredge the eggplant slices in the flour, shaking off the excess.

Dip in the beaten egg to coat and let the excess drip off. 

Fry in the oil until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Repeat until all the eggplant slices have been fried, using more olive oil as needed.

For the sauce: 

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan set over a medium heat until hot. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, sweating until softened, about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried herbs and sugar. Bring to a simmer before reducing to a gentle simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the filling: 

Mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a large mixing bowl, seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper.

Take a spoonful of the filling and place on the wider ends of the eggplant slices before rolling up tightly into rolls.

Spoon the prepared tomato sauce into a large oval baking dish before arranging the eggplant rolls in the sauce, seam sides facing down.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling at the edges.

To serve: 

Remove from the oven and let cool briefly before serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan and sliced basil.

Tags: eggplant (1)  entree (3)  italian cooking (11)  italian food (11)  italian recipe (12)  mozzarella (4)  parmesan (3)  tomato (1)  

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