Eggplant Involtini

Sep 8th

I just love big ol’ bowls of Italian food that don’t include pasta. It’s all the flavor with literally a fraction of the calories. It was also pretty quick – thanks to a few changes I made to the original America’s Test Kitchen recipe. Life is short and when there are cranky babies (or any number of other annoyances you’re dealing with), you need a quick version of healthy foods. Kim Kramer –  you just told me my recipes have too many ingredients. This one’s for you!

Three ingredient filling? One ingredient topping? The one tip I can give you to ensure this tastes great is to salt the eggplant with a heavy hand; you don’t add salt to the filling so it’s necessary. Oh a second tip – I recommend full-fat ricotta cheese here. There really isn’t a lot of filling to eggplant which keeps the calories low and there’s nothing like a full fat cheese for creaminess. It’s worth it!

Could you freeze this? Yes, probably, though I didn’t test that theory. You COULD prepare this up to a day before eating and let it sit, covered, in your fridge. Lastly the original recipe called for a homemade sauce – I do like my own sauce best but there’s nothing like jarred tomato sauce to save some time and dishes. Quick enough for a weeknight but impressive enough for company which is one of my favorite combinations!

Eggplant Involtini

Serves 4

2 large eggplant, peeled

6 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese

1 1/4 c. grated parmesan, divided

1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

1 1/2 c. prepared tomato sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray well with nonstick spray.

2. Slice eggplants into 12 planks (lengthwise). Arrange planks on prepared sheets.

3. Brush olive oil on both sides of the eggplant planks and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper (perhaps 1 tsp. total of each). Bake for about 30 minutes, switching position of the sheets half way through.

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4. Meanwhile, mix ricotta, 3/4 c. of the parmesan and the basil together until combined. In a 9×13 (will also fit in a 7×11) glass baking dish, spread tomato sauce.

5. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, lay (1 at a time) on a cutting board. Place a spoonful of filling (about 2-3 tbsp) onto the fat end and roll up. Place roll in sauce. Continue using the rest of the eggplant and filling. Top with remaining 1/2 c. parmesan cheese.

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6. Place dish back into 375 degree oven (or, if you’d made ahead, preheat oven to 375 degrees) and bake for about 10 minutes (to warm the filling). Switch oven to broil and place baking dish on top rack of oven. Leave door ajar while broiling and watch closely. Broil until cheese is golden brown.

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7. Remove from oven and let sit for several minutes. Serve.

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