12.08.2009

Eggplant Roll-Ups



I have started thinking about holiday recipes that would be prefect to feed a crowd. I love eggplant, as it is one of those cross-over dishes that doesn’t scream “vegetarian”. Sometimes I feel like these dishes are few and far between, especially when it comes to entertaining. Depending on your guest list, you are more than likely dealing with a wide range of tastes, dietary restrictions, and such. Whenever I entertain, I tend to obsess over the menu (surprise, surprise). Of course I have learned it is impossible to satisfy everyone, but gosh-darn-it, it will not be for lack of trying!


Now, it wouldn’t be fair to present this dish to you without the recipe for an important ingredient—the red sauce. A long time ago, in a far off land, there was a little Irish girl who went to college and would routinely smother her pasta in Prego. Then I married an Italian man with amazing cooks in the family (please don’t tell them about the Prego). My world was changed forever. I swear, I will share soon. It is not fair to live life without this red sauce. Just ask the little Irish girl.



Eggplant Roll-Ups
serves 6-8

2 medium eggplants
2 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes
2 c whole-milk ricotta
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
small handful basil, chopped
2 1/2 c prepared red sauce
1/2 c shredded mozzarella or parmesan (or a combination)



Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the stems off eggplant, and discard. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4” strips (or a bit larger, about 8-10 total per eggplant). Arrange slices on a non-stick baking sheet, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Transfer to oven, and cook 12-15 minutes, until eggplant is just tender. Allow eggplant to cool at room temperature. Leave oven on at 350F.

In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 5-7 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden brown. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, and basil. Stir until well combined.

In a casserole dish, spread 1/2 c red sauce along the bottom. Remove eggplant from baking sheet, and place on a flat work surface. Scoop a few tablespoons of ricotta-spread in the middle of each eggplant. Roll up, and place, seam side down, side by side in the casserole dish (they will fit snugly, in two rows of about 8-10 roll-ups). Pour remaining 2 c red sauce over the top, and sprinkle with mozzarella or parmesan. Bake 15-18 minutes, until heated through. Finish under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

17 comments:

melinda said...

oh my, these look delicious.

Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your Life said...

It's 9am in the morning and I just started drooling over these...

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

Those certainly would be a crowd pleaser! I have a large eggplant in need of some love right now, I may have to make a half batch of this soon.

jacqueline said...

Yummie! It looks so delicious! I am collecting a bunch of holiday recipes to make and this will be one of them! You are the greatest...always coming up with yummie delicious recipes! Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

Tracy said...

Oh, these look fantastic, Erin! And do share more about that sauce and the little Irish Girl ;o)

{melissa} said...

those look SO good! I just happen to have bought a deliciously ripened eggplant at the grocery store this week, with no particular plans for it. Looks like I found some!

CassiMO said...

I, too, am an Irish girl who married an Italian man who belongs to a family of cooks--especially his Italian mother who makes everything from scratch! I agree with you on how important it is to make your own sauce, and your guests can always tell! I think all store-bought (Prego, Classico, Bertolli, whatever...) sauces have the same distinct base taste that does not compare to fresh ingredients used in a homemade sauce. Don't get me wrong, when I am in a pinch, I sometimes grab the Classico, but I've learned it's best to make a triple-batch of red sauce and freeze what I don't use. I can't wait to learn how you make yours! :)
Thanks for all the great ideas; your blog is now my homepage on my work computer, and has been for months. My coworkers love to check out my screen and see what's new. :)

Dana said...

I make something similar that my household goes crazy for. (Ok, my husband and extended family - my kids not so much.) I LOVE the filling you have going on in there. Sun dried tomatoes just make everything better. Can't wait for the sauce recipe!

Talia said...

These look REALLY yummy! I think I might make them for dinner tongiht!

Tara said...

not a vegetarian myself but my boyfriend is and he would loove this...he adores eggplant...unfortunately, I dont...do you think zucchini can sub out for this? (extra large zucchini)

also, new to the website, looove it!

Oraphan said...

What a wonderful idea! I love eggplant too, this looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

fresh365 said...

CassiMO- Thanks for the sweet comments!

Tara- I would certainly give zucchini a try! You could also sub pasta noodles, like a lasagna or cannelloni... Let me know how it works out!

simpledaisy said...

OH...I so forgot about eggplant roll-ups!! I used to make them and LOVED them...Now I suppose I could make them with tofu instead of cheese!! YUM!!
I have never made sauce from scratch...I might have to give that a try!

Jessica Nichols said...

I've been meaning to do a tutorial on my red sauce, which I learned from watching my Sicilian grandma make my whole childhood. It is so yummy. Really any red sauce made from scratch is awesome. I can't wait to see how you make it!

My Owl Barn said...

OMG, I am so making these. These look delicious and I love eggplant.

sara said...

these are my favorite lil italian yummies to make! I think theyre great cold too! So ncie to have your recipe ~

Lisa said...

mmmmm...looks so delish!