Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eggplant Rollatini


 

I have to say, I have a love/hate relationship with vegetables.  I know they're good for me and I should learn to love them, but often times they're bland and I love flavor. 

While I love eating fresh, healthy ingredients I'm not always creative when it comes to vegetable dishes. I usually resort to getting my vegetable nutrients from a soup or a green tossed in salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Not creative at all.

My Ciocia Ela, on the other hand, has mastered vegetable dishes.  She has a beautiful garden that provides her with a bountiful supply of a vast variety of vegetables.  With those fresh organic vegetables, she has experimented over the years and come up with countless delicious vegetable dishes that the entire family has grown to love .

So how did I end up with Eggplant Rollatini you ask?  Well, when I used to work in an Italian restaurant, I loved the look of their Eggplant Rollatini.   It reminded me of so many other Italian dishes I've always loved.  Loaded with tomato sauce and cheeses- it looked like an explosion of flavor I just couldn't resist.

When I tried it for the first time, I was not disappointed- in fact it was fantastic!  Recently I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to try making it myself and she knew just the person to help find the perfect recipe!

My Ciocia Ela's Eggplant Rollatini she adapted from a friend was indeed perfect.  It was full of wonderful flavors providing an excellent balance between the eggplant and other Italian components.  This is a dish I will be making for years to come! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Recipe Tips
  • Ladle warm tomato sauce on your plate before serving.

Start with washing your eggplant and removing the stem:

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Then thinly slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices:

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Then prepare your three bowls of flour combined with salt and pepper, egg and water, and bread crumbs.  Heat a large skillet with 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/high heat.  Then cover your eggplant slice with the flour mixture, making sure to shake off the excess:

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Then dip into the egg mixture:

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Transfer into the breadcrumbs, making sure to completely cover both sides:

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Then transfer to your skillet and saute for about 1 minute on each side:

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Until golden brown, making sure to add more olive oil when your pan dries up:

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Once cooked, transfer your eggplant cutlet to a plate lined with paper towel and continue these steps with the remaining eggplant:

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Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine your ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt, pepper, and minced garlic:

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Put your frozen spinach in a separate bowl and microwave according to package directions.  Let it cool and drain the water out of the your spinach:

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Add your spinach to the cheese mixture and stir to combine:

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Then lay a single eggplant cutlet on a flat surface and spoon 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture at the end:

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Roll your eggplant, starting with folding over the cheese mixture:

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Roll towards the other end:

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Until you can't roll anymore!

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Place your eggplant rolls on a lightly greased 9x13 glass pan and spoon 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce over the top:

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Then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese:

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Continue until all of your rolls are prepared:

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Then bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes uncovered.  Then switch your oven to broil and broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese appears golden brown:

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Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley:

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Eggplant Rollatini
Adapted from Family Recipe provided by Ciocia Ella
Makes 9 rolls
Prep Time: ~40 minutes
Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
Eggplant Cutlets
2 large eggplants (the longer the eggplant, the better- makes it easier to roll)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
2 cups bread crumbs

Spinach and Cheese Mixture
1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach
15 ounces of Ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

Assembly
1 cup homemade tomato sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions
Start with washing your eggplant and removing the stem.  Then thinly slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Prepare your three dipping bowls with flour combined with salt and pepper, egg and water, and bread crumbs.  Heat a large skillet with 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/high heat.  Then cover your eggplant slice with the flour mixture, making sure to shake off any excess.  Then dip into the egg mixture.  Transfer into the breadcrumbs, making sure to completely cover both sides.  Transfer to your skillet and saute for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown, making sure to add more olive oil when your pan dries up .  Once browned, transfer your eggplant cutlet to a plate lined with paper towel and continue these steps with the remaining eggplant.  

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine your ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Put your frozen spinach in a separate bowl and microwave according to package directions.  Let it cool and drain the water out of the your spinach.  Add your spinach to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.  

Then lay a single eggplant cutlet on a flat surface and spoon 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture at the end farthest from you.  Roll the eggplant, starting at the end with the cheese mixture working towards you like a jelly roll.  Place your eggplant rolls on a lightly greased 9x13 glass pan seam side down.  Then spoon 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce over each roll and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Then bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes uncovered.  If your cheese isn't quite browning, switch your oven to broil and broil for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese appears golden brown.  Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
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47 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness..I loveee this! You made it so perfect and it looks really tasty!

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  2. Wow! That looks phenomenal and I'm starving at this moment....so it's a bit of torture. *print* I'll be trying this one. Thanks!

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  3. That looks gorgeous and SO good! I have to say I really do enjoy vegetables so I know I would just love this!

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  4. You have totally inspired me. This is the first time I've heard of Rollatini. Love parmesan aubergines and love spinach and ricotta cannelloni so this is just the perfect dish! This is definitely saved. Beautiful photos, too, BTW.

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  5. Oh Delicious!!! Like an eggplant eggroll- I love it! As for bland veggies- I stir fry mine with olive oil and crushed red pepper, or olive oil and garlic...always delicious- give it a try!

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  6. Chelsea, you know I love fried eggplant! It makes the perfect substitute for pasta or meat in many Italian dishes. This one goes on the eggplant redux list! thanks for sharing

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  7. I love eggplant parmesan and this looks like an awesome variation!

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  8. Spinach, cheese, tomato, aubergine... what's not to like?!

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  9. This looks so delicious. But then again, I'm pretty sure I'd eat my own shoe if it was breaded, fried and stuffed with cheese. :) Love the ricotta-spinach filling you've used.

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  10. fried eggplant is high on my list of favourite foods -- this looks delicious! Theresa

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  11. I love veggies and I love eggplant so this is a winning recipe in my opinion. Hey, any way you can get yourself to eat veggies is good!

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  12. Oh wow this looks incredible! Love the fried eggplant. Looks amazing. Def have to try this!

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  13. Oh My God, I LOVE these eggplant rolls. The ricotta-spinach combo is such a delicious combo and goes well with most of the veggies. thanks for sharing, hope you'll have a wonderful Friday

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  14. Oh Chelsea, what a brilliant dish. I love my veggies, my husband, not so much so this is guaranteed to be a hit.
    :-) Mandy

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  15. Gorgeous! What a wonderful dish to make and be so proud of.

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  16. How funny that you post this today when my son was asking me to make eggplant! I think he might actually eat this too! Yum!

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  17. This is the most amazing recipe I think I've seen all month. This is really the type of dish that inspires me, so thanks! I can't wait to make it. If only I had eggplant on hand today!!

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  18. OMG, this is irresistable! I have to make this for dinner tonight, or maybe lunch, I can't wait that long!!

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  19. I saw this recipe today and had to make it for dinner tonight... everything prepared, all set to construct rollatini until an incident with a corkscrew put my left hand out of action! I put it together (one-handed) as a layer bake instead (eggplant, filling, eggplant, filling, eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella). Stupendous! Thanks so much for the inspiration! :)

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  20. Oh my those that looks incredible! I would have a hard time not wanting to eat the whole thing. :)

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  21. I would love to eat these right now. Delish!

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  22. Oh yum! I love eggplant! That final picture is beautiful!

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  23. Oh wow! I just made eggplant parmesan, but I wish I would have seen this before! Pictures look great to!

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  24. What a beautiful looking dish, and it sounds simply mouthwatering!

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  25. your dishes look yum ! will definitely try them.... you can also view n follow my blog http://kitchensojourn.blogspot.com/ .. will be really happy !

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  26. this looks amazing! i can't wait to try it out....mmmm.

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  27. I love your step-by-step instructions! So helpful and lovely photography!! Thanks so much!

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  28. There's an amazing italian restaurant around the corner from my apartment and every time, without fail, I order the Eggplant Rollatini. Joke's on them, now I'm makin' 'em at home!

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  29. DELICIOUSNESS. This looks amazing!!! I will definitely make this. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. I love Eggplant Rollatini and your photo makes this dish look so wonderful!

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  31. I am a huge fan of your posts- love the pics, step by step description and recipes rock!

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  32. Does it have to be frozen spinach that you use or can you just buy leafy fresh spinach ?(in the bag)?

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  33. @Anonymous- I haven't tried using fresh spinach, but I suppose you can use fresh if you shred it very finely in a food processor. Frozen is preferred because it provides the best consistency. Hope that helps!

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  34. this looks FAB!!
    http://chefpriyanka.wordpress.com

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  35. Going to me trying this and featuring it on my own blog! an-appetite-for-life.blogspot.com

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  36. This looks delicious. I don't have any eggplant recipes that I am crazy about, so I am thrilled to try this. Thanks.

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  37. Eggplant is one of my most favorite foods. And... I have never tried cooking it myself. Your dish and photography look wonderful. I just found you on FoodBuzz which I am trying to figure out. This dish is definitely going on my list. Thank you!

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  38. This looks to be a good idea. I am going to modify it somewhat because I don't want to fry. I will steam the eggplant and stuff them with some left over mince I have and some fresh steamed greens. I'll let you know how it turns out ...

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  39. I absolutely love anything eggplant. Being 100% Italian, I had to give this a try. I do something similar, but with lasagna noodles. This was delicious. My husband absolutely loved it and so did I. Thanks for sharing!

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  40. This recipe was fabulous. I only had fresh baby spinach and was too lazy to saute it so I added it fresh to the cheese mixture. And it was still great! Thanks!

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  41. I partake in our community co-op so I get a big bag every 2 weeks of 50% veggies and 50% fruits. Last delivery I received an eggplant. I have these babies in the oven now and I can't wait to try it!

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  42. Made this tonight. It was a total hit. Thank you for sharing.

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  43. This is gorgeous. I'm making it tonight.

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  44. I love your recipe! Not only the simplicity of it, but your step by step photo detail was wonderful. I made it tonight (first time to make Eggplant Rollitini) and my husband and I loved it! We buy all our veggies at Sprouts Market and get the freshest veggies, fruits & bulk spices, rice, nuts, etc EVER. That in turn has gotten my creative juices flowing. Thank you for sharing..i have passed it on to other eggplant lovers.

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  45. Has anyone tried making this the morning of and baking it later that night? I wonder how the eggplant & cheese mixture would hold up in the fridge.

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