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To say I love Eggplant Rollatini is an understatement. It happens to be one of my all time favorite foods. I’m guessing since you clicked it on that link, these breaded eggplant slices that are stuffed with ricotta cheese and baked in a sweet San Marzano tomato sauce, might be one of your favorites too. Well I’ve got good news! Today I’m sharing a simple recipe for a traditional Italian style Eggplant Rollatini.
I’m calling this recipe “Baby Eggplant Rollatini” because I prefer to use baby eggplant when making this dish. They have less seeds and tend to be less bitter. The only downside to using the smaller eggplant is that it can be harder to roll up (sometimes). I promise though, once you get into a rhythm of stuffing and rolling it becomes second nature. If you can’t find baby eggplant don’t get hung up on the size, it really doesn’t matter (wink-wink), you can still slice, roll and bake up your favorite rollatini with a small eggplant too.
You will first want to peel the skin from the eggplant and then lay it horizontally on its side. Slice the eggplant into 1/8″ pieces and set aside. If anything, getting the eggplant thin is probably the most difficult part to this dish. But like mastering any skill, you must practice, practice, practice. The more you do it the better you get at it. Next, begin to bread the eggplant slices and fry them in Canola oil until golden brown. Set them aside on a paper towel to cool off.
Now that the eggplant are breaded and fried begin preparing the ricotta filling. With this dish I do feel not all ricotta cheeses are created equal. I prefer a fresh or thicker store bought brand of ricotta cheese (like Galbani or Biazzo). Some brands tend to retain more water than others and the less water in the filling the better. Also, to keep the mixture thicker add cubed/diced mozzarella cheese to the filling (rather than shredded). The diced mozzarella becomes less stringy in the melting process. Add some grated cheese, an egg and fresh chopped italian parsley, combine well.
Next, dollop the ricotta filling onto the lower portion of the eggplant slice, spread it with the back of a spoon and then roll up 3 times. Place in a baking dish coated with this Simple San Marzano tomato sauce (or other basic sauce), folded side down. Repeat until all the eggplant have been rolled.
You’ve sliced and rolled, now let’s bake. This is probably the easiest part. Spoon the remaining sauce all over the eggplant roll ups so they are mostly covered. Sprinkle grated Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese over the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the foil and shift the pan to the top rack. Remove the baking dish from the oven when the cheese is completely melted and the eggplant are cooked through. This takes about 12-15 minutes in my oven. Let the eggplant cool a few minutes before serving.
Hopefully I’ve made you hungry enough to give this classic Italian American eggplant dish a try. Even though Eggplant Rollatini might look complicated, it’s actually a great weeknight meal. And even though there are a few steps to this dish, it’s worth putting in a little extra effort towards the things you love!
You know how much I love hearing from you guys so please share your thoughts, suggestions and tips in the comments below.
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