Did you ever have one of those recipes that you really, really wanted to try, but you weren't sure if it was ever going to happen? My husband and I used to like to get take-out from this Italian restaurant we lived close to. They had a dish called eggplant rollatini that I absolutely loved and its the only place I have ever seen it. It is basically eggplant that has been sliced lengthwise, breaded and fried, and then rolled up with a ricotta and spinach filling. We moved two years ago, and although we are still relatively close, not close enough to go back for take-out. So I decided to try to make the dish myself.
I had made the creamy pesto that Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventure had posted on her blog a couple weeks ago and I had quite a bit of leftover ricotta so I thought it was the perfect time to try the recipe out. I bought an eggplant at the store on Sunday and as I was putting it away I noticed two small holes in it. I thought I could just cut around it, but to my dismay, when I began to slice it on Monday evening, the entire thing was wormed through and there was a very hungry caterpillar inside (I kid you not- it looked exactly like the very hungry caterpillar). So Tuesday afternoon after I left work and picked up my girls from daycare, I made my way over to the local produce shop figuring it was easier to go there than the grocery store. No eggplant. So I headed over to the butcher shop next door because they have a produce section as well. No eggplant. There was no way I was driving all the way to the grocery store, and navigating the parking lot and store aisles in four inch heels and two kids in tow so I resigned myself to the fact I was going to have to wait ONE more day.
The next day at work, my mom said she was running out to the store and asked me if I needed anything (yes, I work with my mom- how lucky am I!). I jumped at the chance and she picked up a beautiful eggplant for me. When I got home, I quickly sliced it down and threw it on the grill. The original dish has breaded eggplant, but I was trying to make a healthier version and the idea of grilled eggplant sounded appealing anyway. I had already mixed up the filling so once the eggplant finished cooking, I filled them, popped them in the oven with a little sauce, and about 45 minutes later I had my eggplant rollatini!
They were delicious. I loved the filling and I think I actually liked the dish better with the grilled eggplant. This recipe was super easy to make and tastes wonderful. I'll definitely be making it again!
1 Medium Eggplant Sliced Lengthwise (about 1/4 inch thick)
15 oz. Ricotta Cheese (I used part skim)
8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Package Frozen Spinach
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Slice the eggplant lengthwise and baste with olive oil before grilling. Grill on each side for about five minutes. The eggplant should be tender and easily rolled but not falling apart.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grate half of the fresh mozerrella and combine with the ricotta, egg, spinach, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Slice the rest of the mozerrella (about ten slices)
Take the first slice of eggplant and spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling onto the center of the slice. Roll the slice up. Repeat with the remaining slices.
Spoon a small amount of the sauce into a 9x13 baking dish and put rolled up eggplant pieces into the dish. Spoon a little more sauce over the top of the eggplant. Bake for about 30 minutes or until you notice the sauce beginning to bubble along the edges. Place the mozerrella slices over the eggplant and bake for another ten minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about five minutes before serving.
A medium eggplant yielded about ten eggplant slices. The total recipe yielded about five servings with two rolls per serving.