Eggplant is a tricky bugger of a vegetable. It has a bit of an attitude problem which needs to be adjusted via salt and rolling-pin beat-down. I bought this new cookbook that I am in love with and I want to share with you, the only classic eggplant rollatini recipe that I will ever use for the rest of my life. A bold statement? Yes, it is. I mean every word of it. It’s that good. I follow this one to the letter, which means it must be good. Well, ok..I added cheese at the end. But, still, for me…that’s pretty darn close. I rarely follow recipes. I follow this one. You should too.
All the comforts of home in one amazing recipe.
Rollatini di Melanzane Parmigiano
Adapted from Eggplant Rollatini p. 32 of My new favorite cookbook
“Cooking from the Italians of Newark, New Jersey an Ethnic Experience” by Elizabeth Barone Callahan
(Eggplant Rollatini Parmigiana)
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 cups mixed breading – Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and flour (1 cup each)
- 3 eggs + one more for ricotta mixture (4 eggs altogether)
- olive oil for frying (as much as necessary)
- 1 pound ricotta
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (plus more for garnish)
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup mozzarella (fresh, smoked, if you prefer – which I do)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan for top.
1. Slice eggplant lengthwise, into 1/2 inch slices and lay on cooling rack placed over paper towels or baking sheet to trap water that will drip from eggplant.
2. Generously sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant and let it rest on the cooling rack for 15 minutes to draw out any excess bitterness (eggplant water is bitter, salt removes water, thereby removing bitterness).
3. Next, take each slice of eggplant and place between paper towels or clean dish towel. Using a rolling-pin and pure muscle, squeeze any excess moisture from the eggplant slice, by rolling over it with a rolling-pin. Place each eggplant slice on a plate. They’re ready to be breaded. Repeat this step for all eggplant slices.
4. Crack three eggs in a bowl and whisk them. Place dry breadcrumb flour mixture in another bowl. Drop each eggplant slice in eggs and then in breadcrumb mixture and then place on a “ready to be fried” plate. Continue to do this for each of the eggplant slices. Grab cooling rack with more paper towels or baking pan under it. Place next to stove (for eggplant after frying).
5. In a large, deep skillet (mine was 12 inches wide and three inches high) place 1 inch of olive oil. Turn on the heat to medium high. When oil starts to ripple, drop eggplant slices in the hot, rippling oil one at a time, carefully and slowly (not to splatter or lower oil temperature – that would be very bad).
6. Fry eggplant slices on both sides until golden brown (takes about 2 minutes on each side – very fast, so stay close). When eggplant slices are golden, remove from pan and place on cooling rack with paper towels (because some of the oil will drip off while cooling).
7. Continue to fry in batches until all eggplant slices are done and on cooling rack. Turn off heat.
8. In medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, 1 egg, salt and pepper and parsley.
9. Prep baking dish (I used a 13 x9) by spooning half the marinara into bottom.
10. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, place a couple spoonfuls of ricotta mixture on the bottom edge of eggplant slice and wrap and roll the eggplant slice up towards the top around the ricotta mixture. Place on prepared baking dish.
11. Repeat previous step (10.) until all slices of eggplant are rolled and in baking dish
12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top rollatini with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan (and additional parsley for garnish, if desired).
13. Place rollatini in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden on top. Let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.