Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eggplant Rollitini

If you are familiar with some of my recipes you will notice that I like to use roasted Roma tomatoes in place of tomato sauce. I find roasting the tomatoes to be just as easy, if not easier, than making your own sauce. It may not be as easy as buying sauce in a jar, but it is very fresh and has a lot of great flavor.

In my version of eggplant rollitini, I like to slice the eggplant very thin and fill it with a ricotta, Parmesan and spinach filling. I then top it with roasted tomatoes and a little fresh mozzarella and basil. You can find the recipe for roasted tomatoes below.

"Lighten" this recipe by using part skim ricotta cheese in the filling and adding a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each eggplant rollitini.

Eggplant Rollitini
Serves 4 (4 rolls per person)

Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
10 Roma tomatoes (roasted-see recipe below)
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 large egg
1 large handful of fresh spinach-chopped
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large eggplants-thinly sliced into 1/8" slices
8 oz fresh mozzarella
Basil to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using a mandoline or knife slice the eggplant into very thin slices about 1/8" thick. Making sure to have around 16 slices total.

2. Season eggplant with salt and pepper and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake until tender; about 5-7 mins (depending on thickness of eggplant slices)

3. Meanwhile, to make the filling combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, chopped spinach, egg, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Set aside.

4. Once the eggplant is tender, remove from oven and pat dry with paper towels. Dividing the ricotta mixture evenly and spoon mixture onto eggplant, leaving a 1/4' border on the sides. Roll up the slices and place seam side down in a baking dish, sprayed with non stick cooking spray.

5. Top each roll with the roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.

6. Cover the dish with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is slightly golden brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Quarter the Roma tomatoes and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (add oregano rosemary and thyme; if desired). Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes until very soft. 

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