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Small Bites #18 - Eggplant

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This week's small bite was a bit of a challenge for me since I am not really fond of eggplant. Bill grew a bunch of it this last summer and he grilled some, but I never made anything with it. Bad girl!

Anyway, I searched for recipes and found a Giada recipe on foodnetwork.com.

Eggplant was the ingredient picked by Eden of Eden's Wanderings and Wonderings.


Eggplant Rollatini

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time:20 min
Cook Time:25 min
Level:Easy
Serves:6 servings

Ingredients

* 3 medium-sized eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
* Sea salt
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
* 32 ounces ricotta cheese
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
* 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan
* 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
* 20 basil leaves, chiffonade
* 2 cups fresh tomato sauce, recipe follows
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the grill and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a rack over a large baking sheet. Cut the eggplants lengthwise, into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange eggplants onto rack. Sprinkle with sea salt to help remove excess moisture and any bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off the salt from the eggplants and pat dry. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a hot grill until lightly browned on each side and tender, about 4 minutes per side. If you do not have an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan. Brush or spray vegetable oil evenly over the grill pan.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta and egg. Add mozzarella, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan and toasted pine nuts and gently combine. Fold in basil just to combine. Do not over mix.

Place a tablespoon of the cheese mixture on 1 end of the eggplant and roll up tightly. Place the eggplant rollatini onto a greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant. Evenly distribute the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant rollatini. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 5 tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 15 minutes. When cooked, drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil.
Simple Tomato Sauce:

* 2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
* ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 carrot, chopped
* 2 dried bay leaves
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1-2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to six months.

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Ease of Preparation: Easy


I kind of "cheated" and didn't make my own tomato sauce, but the end result was a very tasty dish. It sort of opened the door for other eggplant dishes in the future!

I also forgot to get basil at the market, so I used tarragon, which we still had in our garden. I really liked the dish and, being an eggplant lover, Bill did too. I cut the recipe in half, but it still made enough for another meal.

Just ready to go into the oven:
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Comments (4)

Eden:

I love, love eggplant dishes, Nancy. I had some Eggplant Rollatini at a restaurant near my daughter's home. It was delicious but seemed difficult to recreate.

So thank you for this recipe. I am going to make this one, for sure.

This looks delicious.

Happy New Year to you!

Looks yummy!

Kathy (trekcapri):

Hi Nancy, your recipe sounds and looks very delicious. Since I love eggplant I'm going to try everyone's recipes for sure. And definitely will be trying yours soon too.

Thanks so much for sharing.

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