The perfect no meat dish. Ricotta cheese filling, with eggplants drenched in tomato sauce and drizzled with parsley. Serve as an appetizer or an entree.
Eggplant Rollatini by Lidia’s Italy at Home
Makes 6 servings
2 medium eggplants (About 2 pounds total)
1½ cups Ricotta
¾ cup Grana Padano, grated (Peccorino Romano can also be used)
1½ cups Mozzarella, grated
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped (more for finishing)
3 large eggs
3 cups prepared tomato sauce
vegetable oil for frying
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Trim the stems and ends from the eggplants. Remove strips of peel with a vegetable peeler about 1-inch wide from the eggplants, leaving about half the peel intact.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices and place them in a colander.
Sprinkle generously with the coarse salt, tossing to expose all slices, and let drain for 1 hour.
Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Making the Filling:
Place the ricotta, ¼ cup of the grated Grana Padano, the grated mozzarella and parsley in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and stir into the filling to combine.
Season with salt.
Put the previously prepared tomato sauce in a small saucepan and warm over low heat.
Frying the Eggplant:
Whisk the remaining 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon salt together in a wide, shallow bowl.
Spread the flour in an even layer in a separate wide, shallow bowl.
Heat ½ inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off the excess.
Dip the floured eggplant into the egg mixture, turning well to coat both sides evenly (let excess egg drip back into the pan).
Oil is ready for frying when a corner of a coated eggplant slice gives off a lively sizzle when dipped into the oil.
Add as many of the coated eggplant slices as will fit touching and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes.
Remove the eggplant to a sheet pan with paper towel to let drain.
Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
Adjust the heat as the eggplant cooks to prevent the egg coating from cooking too fast or over browning.
Add oil to the pan as necessary during cooking to keep the level more or less the same (allowing oil to heat each time before adding more eggplant slices).
Making the Rollatini:
Pour 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 19-by-13-inch baking dish.
Lay one of the fried eggplant slices in front of you with the short ends towards you. Spoon on about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta filing.
Roll into a compact roll and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish.
Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and filling, placing the rolls side by side.
Ladle the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce over the eggplant rolls to coat them evenly.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup grated Grana Padano.
Cover the dish with foil, tenting it so it doesn’t touch the tops of the rolls, and bake until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the filling is heated through, about 25 minutes.
Uncover and bake until the cheese is browned and crusty, 20 to 25 minutes more.
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Drizzle with fresh parsley when plating.