Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eggplant Rollatini

 

Last summer we grew eggplant in our garden for the first time, because Gabe was OBSESSED with the movie Ratatouille, and he wanted me to make some real ratatouille for him. It was Eric’s brilliant idea to buy a package of eggplant seeds for him, so he could feel connected to our family garden, and get the payoff of his ratatouille. With Gabe’s autism it is sometimes had for us to to get him involved with family activities.

Well…at the end of the summer, after Gabe had “tended” his plants, I searched Pinterest for a rockin’ ratatouille recipe.

Guess what?

Ratatouille is not a very kid appealing meal.

So…what to do with DOZENS of eggplant?

Find the gooiest, cheesiest eggplant recipe around…

Eggplant Rollatini!

This recipe was originally from Real Simple…but I tweaked er a bit…okay…quite a bit. And it is completely AMAZING!

Eggplant Rollatini

  • 2 large eggplant (16-1/4 inch slices)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta (recipe HERE), or 15oz. store bought
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups freshly grated mozzarella (12 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
  • Additional salt and pepper for roasting the eggplant

 

Eggplant Rollatini 1

 

First, I enlist the help of my cute (and often silly) sous chef.

Then…

I like to make my own marinara sauce. You can certainly buy it…but where would the fun be in that?

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 Quart (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
  • 1-6oz. jar of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (crushed or minced)
  • 1 tablespoon high quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (crushed)
  • Sea salt to taste

 

Eggplant Rollatini 2

 

First, sauté the onions and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil, over medium-low heat. I like my cast iron skillet for this…but any deep skillet will work.

After about 5 minutes, add the remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 3

 

Bring to a low boil, and simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes…

 

Eggplant Rollatini 4

 

stirring occasionally.

Now…let’s get down to business.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and dry the eggplant thoroughly, and cut the top off of each eggplant.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise, into 1/4 inch slices.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 10

 

I use my mandolin for this. If you do not have a mandolin, that’s fine…I sliced my eggplant with a knife the first time I made this recipe. But it will make your life a whole lot easier. We purchased ours at Bed Bath and Beyond (I explain why in this post) for under $30.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 11

 

Yep..that’s my stud…slicing eggplant like a boss Winking smile 

 

Discard (preferably compost) the end pieces, as they will not be big enough to use. You will need a total of 16 slices of eggplant.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 12

 

Brush the front and back of each slice with the olive oil, and place on two separate cookie sheets.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 14

 

Sprinkle eggplant with salt and pepper.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 16

 

Roast for about 10 minutes, until the eggplant turns golden, and is soft and pliable.

Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees.

Let eggplant cool, and start the cheese mixture.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 17

 

Combine ricotta cheese, eggs, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/4 cup, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir with a fork until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 18

 

Or…your adorable assistant can use her hands (CLEAN hands, of course) to blend it all together.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 20

 

Spread 1 cup of marinara into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Now…start rolling the rollatini…

 

Eggplant Rollatini 19

 

Place about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture at the bottom of each slice of eggplant…

 

Eggplant Rollatini 23

 

roll…

 

Eggplant Rollatini 24

 

and place on top of the marinara.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 26

 

Cover the eggplant with the remaining 2 cups of marinara.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 27

 

Sprinkle with 2 cups of mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan.

Bake, uncovered,  for 25-30 minutes…until golden and bubbly.

 

Eggplant Rollatini 30

 

 

Eggplant Rollatini 32

 

Gorgeous…

 

Eggplant Rollatini 35

 

and delicious!

Perfect for a Sunday dinner.

Have you ever cooked with eggplant? What is your favorite eggplant recipe?

Jessie

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