I know I'm hitting the tail end of when a lot of products are in season, but don't worry. September has a ton of stuff to offer itself! One of my favorite ingredients, eggplant, is the first ingredient that I want to highlight. Depending on where you live, it's usually in season from July-October. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we've already hit on some fantastic Italian recipes that use eggplant.
A product that typically grows in the south of Italy, there are tons of other recipes you can try. This week, I made Eggplant Rollatini. It consists of breading slices of eggplant and rolling them up with a cheese and spinach mixture as a filling and then covering them with sauce. With ingredients like that, you really can't go wrong. Most people use ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, but I chose to use pecorino rather than parmesan. It gives a great salty flavor to the dish, as well as a slightly more distinct flavor than the parmesan. If you don't want to bread the eggplant, you could grill it instead.
Adapted from The Food Network
Makes 8 Rollatini, serves 4-6
1 large eggplant
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 package of fresh spinach
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pecorino cheese
2 cups tomato sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices about 1/4 inch thick. From one large eggplant you should get about 8 slices. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and lay on paper towels for about 10 minutes to drain some of the liquid out.
- Bread the eggplant. First, dredge it in flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip it into the egg (it usually takes two eggs for this much eggplant). Finally, coat in breadcrumbs and shake off any excess.
- Pour a thin layer of the olive oil into a large skillet. Put pan over a medium heat. When the olive is hot, put in a couple eggplant slices. Cook about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side. Remove to a plate to cool. Repeat with the next batch of eggplant.
- While the eggplant is cooling, make the filling. Rinse the spinach. While still wet, put in a pot. Cover and put over medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the leaves are completely wilted. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop the spinach into small pieces.
- In a bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, pecorino, 1 egg, and spinach. Stir to combine.
- Take each piece of eggplant and place a large spoonful of the mixture onto the wider end of the eggplant. Gently roll the eggplant up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
- Spread 1 cup of sauce along the bottom of a baking pan. Put the eggplant rollatini on top of the sauce, seam side down. Finally, cover with the remaining sauce.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, put the remaining mozzarella on top, and return to the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Ryan's rating of Eggplant Rollatini - 5. Another success!
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up again.
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in it.