Eggplants Rolled with Ricotta  

(“Involtini di Melanzane con Ricotta”)
(“Milinjani ca’ Ricuotta e u’ Caciu”) 

 

In the United States, the Rolled Eggplants stuffed with ricotta and cheeses are a very popular appetizer. You will find this appetizer in 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 a richer taste, and to create a delicious sensation to the palate by the contrast of the many different flavors. 

  

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS  

  · 2 eggplants- Peel and slice lengthways ½ inch thick 

· 1 lb. ricotta 

· 2 eggs 

· 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley 

· 3 tablespoons of grated cheese 

· 1 tablespoon of Italian breadcrumbs 

· ½ lb. shredded mozzarella 

· ¾ cup of olive oil 

· 12 oz. can of peeled tomatoes 

· 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 

· 10 basil leaves 

· Salt and fresh ground black pepper 

  

PREPARATION 

The  Eggplants
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 to grill 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 trays.

 

The Tomato Sauce
In a 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 to dry add some water. Taste for salt and pepper, tear and add 5 basil leaves and set on side. 

The stuffing
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, sprinkle with grated cheese, and a pinch of breadcrumbs. 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. 

Note: If making the tomato sauce with vine ripe tomatoes: blanch 6 tomatoes in boiling water, when they are cool remove the skin, some seeds and chop them.  Then follow above directions. 

  

Buon Appetito!