Eggplants Rolled with Ricotta
Involtini di Melanzane con Ricotta
Milinjani ca’ Ricuotta e u’ Caciu
In the United States, Rolled Eggplants stuffed with ricotta are a very popular
appetizer. You will find this appetizer on the menu of most Italian restaurants, especially
in New York. It is well-liked for its taste and very
popular because it can be prepared in advance and baked at the last minute.
To my knowledge, there is
no traditional recipe to follow in the preparation of this tasty appetizer; you can fry or grill the
eggplants. At Joe’s of Avenue U, this appetizer was not on our menu; we made it for catering orders. When we
prepared the rollatini, the
eggplants were fried in olive oil to give them a richer taste and to create a unique flavor on the palate by
contrasting with the many different flavors inside.
Serves 4 to
· 2 eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthways ½ inch thick
· 1 lb ricotta
· 2 eggs
· 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
· 3 tablespoons grated cheese
· 1 tablespoon Italian breadcrumbs
· ½ lb shredded mozzarella
· ¾ cup olive oil
· 12 oz can peeled tomatoes
· 2 cloves garlic, crushed
· 10 basil leaves
· Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Place eggplants in a colander, salt lightly
and set aside for 20 minutes.
Rinse the sliced eggplant and drain for a few minutes. Gently pat
dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
In a skillet, heat ½ cup of olive oil over a medium flame and fry
the eggplants until golden brown. Place fried eggplants on paper towels to drain the oil. If you prefer
grilling them, brush both sides with oil and cook until tender, about 3 minutes on each side. The eggplants
can also be baked at 400 degrees, cooking them about 4 minutes on each side.
Place cooked eggplant in
The Tomato Sauce
small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame and sauté the garlic. When golden brown,
remove it and discard.
Add the crushed tomato and cook for 7 minutes. If sauce becomes too dry, add some
water. Taste for salt and pepper, tear and add 5 basil leaves and set
In a bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to taste,
blend well. As soon as the sliced eggplants are
cool, place a tablespoon of ricotta mixture on top of each slice and spread it uniformly. On the narrow side
of each slice place some mozzarella, sprinkled with grated cheese and a pinch of
Fold and roll up each slice,
starting at the narrow side. Arrange rolled eggplants in an 11” X 7” oiled pan and cover the rolled eggplants
with the tomato sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375
degrees. Garnish with basil leaves.
If making the tomato sauce with vine ripe tomatoes, blanch 6 tomatoes in boiling water. When they are cool, remove
the skin and some of the seeds and chop them. Then follow above directions.