Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eggplant RollaGini

                          As a lover of almost every veggie and fruit, I regularly frequent the farmers’ markets by my home. There are quite a few within a 5 minute drive, so depending on which direction I am coming from I can usually stop and grab some items. I am also a person who lives with one other but buys food as if she lives with 5 others though, you get me? Therefore, I usually buy waayyy too much produce. To make a long story short, I had extra eggplant and leftover ricotta and also wanted to kill some afternoon hours …… so I decided to make  a “pot o sauce” aka marinara and then eggplant rollatini, which I refer to as rollaGiniJ Anyway, for most people that is a tall order for one day, but as a teacher who has been out of school since June and without a summer job, this was an awesome idea. So I geared up…..apron on, ingredients out, oven cranked, and got to work! The dish came out fabulous and the marinara sauce below yields a lot more than the 2 cups you’ll need. Hence now I have frozen sauce for later use and we didn’t finish the eggplant rollaGina either, so as a savvy freezer (haha that sounds like I am an appliance) I froze that too, perhaps to slice on a pizza someday soon! Hubby remarked, “Solid eggplant” after he ate a decent portion and I too couldn’t help but pat myself on the back on this one. It was great, I hope you agree!
Eggplant RollaGini
Serves: 4-6
OBJ: TCW be able to lighten up a heavy Italian favorite by baking her eggplant instead of frying

1 medium sized eggplant, sliced down the side to make ¼ in large slices
2 C Italian style bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 ½- 2 C marinara sauce (see recipe below or use your own variation or store-bought)
S & P: salt and pepper
1 8 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ C grated parmesan cheese
¼ C fresh basil loosely packed, sliced or roughly chopped
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
5 slices provolone cheese
¼ C mozzarella cheese

Marinara sauce: In a large sauté pan, heat 3 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 small diced onion and 4 diced garlic cloves, pinch S & P, 1 tsp dried parsley. Cook for 5-8 minutes, then add 1 28 ounce pureed tomatoes and 1 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes that you roughly tear (get messy!), add ¼ dry red wine, then mix to incorporate. Turn heat to high; bring to boil, cover and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover after 20 minutes, stir, keep heat on low for 10 minutes, then turn off, add another pinch S & P, stir in 8-10 fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Lay out the eggplant slices on a cooling rack and sprinkle with salt, let “sweat” for 15 minutes. Then, using a paper towel dry the eggplant slices
3. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, 1 egg (beaten), parmesan cheese, basil, and a good pinch S & P. Set aside covered in refrigerator
4. In a shallow dish, beat the remaining two eggs. In another shallow dish, add bread crumbs
5. Using a pastry brush, oil a large sheet pan
6. Dip each eggplant slice in egg, drain well, then coat in breadcrumbs, shake off excess and place on baking sheet
7. Using pastry brush again, lightly brush each top of breaded eggplant with olive oil
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool completely
9. Lower oven to 375 degrees, spoon about ¾-1 C marinara on the bottom of a medium sized casserole dish
10. On a work surface, lay out one eggplant slice, place 1 heaping TBS of ricotta filling on larger end of slice and roll up, place in casserole dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices and ricotta filling
Before the last layer of sauce goes on..
11. Spoon another ¾-1 C marinara on top, spread provolone slices over and sprinkle with mozzarella

12. Bake, covered with foil, for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes
Oven Cam!

Beware....digging in too soon will result in mouth burn!!!

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