My version of Eggplant Involtini...eggplant rolls in a spicy pomodoro that has just the right amount of kick!
Eggplant Rolls in a Spicy Pomodoro
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 jalapeños finely diced
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- ~16 medium basil leaves
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1/2-2 lbs. tomatoes on the vine diced or processed in the food processor
- 2 large eggplants sliced into 1/4" slices
- flavorless oil like sunflower seed, vegetable, or canola
- 1.5 cups ricotta cheese
- 6 oz. fresh mozarella
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Start your sauce by heating the olive oil over medium/medium-high heat until the butter is mostly melted. Add the jalapeño, shallot, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and basil.
- Once the garlic looks cooked but is not yet brown, add the tomatoes. taste and adjust seasoning. If it tastes too acidic, add a pinch of sugar. Once the tomatoes are brought to temperature lower the heat to simmer and cover for 20-30 minutes. If a smoother consistency is desired, blend the sauce.
- Grease your baking sheet with olive oil. You can either use 2 sheets or cook your eggplant in 2 batches.
- Prepare your eggplant: Trim the ends, slice lengthwise into 1/4-1/2 inch slices (you want to get 6 slices per eggplant), and lay evenly on a your greased baking sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil, and season with salt & pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. Flip. Cook another 10 minutes.
- Mix the ricotta, mozarella, and parmesan in a medium bowl. Season with 1/4 tsp of each salt & pepper. Mix (with a fork) to combine.
- When the eggplant is cool, add ~2 tbsp of the ricotta mixture to the center of each eggplant (see photo below). Use up all the mixture.
- Transfer your tomato sauce to a baking dish.
- Roll your eggplants and place them seam-side-down in the baking dish.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan.
Grab a can of diced tomatoes instead of using fresh!
Shop my favorite ruffled casserole dish here. Makes a great foodie holiday gift!
Step by step eggplant rolls:
Make sure you cook the shallot, jalapeño, garlic, and basil before you add the tomatoes. I prefer to food process the tomatoes to save chopping time.
Make sure to simmer for at least 20 minutes to evaporate the extra liquid from the tomatoes. You can blend the sauce if you are looking for a smoother finish...I personally prefer the sauce a little chunky.
Let the eggplant rest until they are cool enough to touch. Then, break up your mozzarella with your hands so it is easier to mix into the ricotta. I use a fork to mix/mash them together. Next, use up all your mixture by dividing it evenly between the 12 slices of eggplant.
Add your tomato sauce to your baking dish. You will cook the eggplant rolls directly in the sauce.
Next, roll your eggplant slices around the cheese mixture and place the eggplant rolls seam-side-down in your baking dish.
Serve by topping each roll with some of the tomato sauce in the dish, and extra grated parmesan. Also, if you have extra basil you can chiffonade a few leaves and sprinkle them on top as a garnish.
This dish is a perfect make-ahead dish. You can get it ready for the oven (in it's baking dish), cover it, and all that will be left is baking it for 25 minutes before your guests arrive...leaving you plenty of time to relax, or focus on the other dishes you are making. Then, just let it come to room temperature and pop it in the oven before your guests get there. Also, if you're like me, serve it as the main for everyone coming...it's that delicious.