The day after Christmas, we had a Fortieth birthday party for my husband. In an effort to keep things “easy” because it was the day after Christmas, my mother and I grabbed massive quantities of Italian cuisine from our wholesale club. We got Spinach Chicken Alfredo, Mac and Cheese for the kids, Vegetable Lasagna, Angus Meatballs and sauce, Caesar Salad and loads of Italian bread. It ended up being cheaper than the catering I was originally going to order and it was pretty easy to prepare. Most went in a crock pot while the rest , by some miracle, went in the oven at the same temp.
As I was running through Wegman’s at the last minute picking things up for the party, I passed the frozen section and saw a family pack of something called Eggplant Rollatini. I had never seen it before but it looked fabulous! I am a BIG fan of Eggplant so I grabbed it and thought, well, even if others don’t eat it, I will and I’ll have leftovers. Yeah, I was totally thinking about me.
I was right. It was delicious and I had leftovers to enjoy! It also got me thinking that I good totally make this at home using homemade sauce. So this past weekend, I set out to recreate the dish with a few changes. First, I used my recipe for ricotta filling (halved that is) that I use from lasagna or stuffed shells. I am fairly sure it’s pretty common. Second, I used my homemade marinara. Third, I added spinach because I add spinach to pretty much everything. And last, I didn’t bread mine like theirs’ is. I had totally planned to but I ran out of foil and had to make a trip to the store so I cut that step out in order to save time. I still loved it and don’t believe it needs it.
Eggplant has a lot of moisture in it just like zucchini so I knew that I must get some of it out or it was going to be very watery. To do that, all you do it slice the eggplant (a mandolin works perfect for this and I was able to get 12 good slices out of 2 eggplants) and sprinkle some Himalayan Pink salt over the slice and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. I placed mine in a colander so it could drain into the sink but you don’t have to.
Once that’s done, take some paper towels and dry it very well. Bake the eggplant, pat dry again and place two tablespoons (1 wasn’t enough, 3 oozed out the sides) of cheese mixture on the eggplant and roll it up.
Place in a 9×13 casserole dish, add some sauce and cheese and bake covered with foil (see I needed the foil) for 55- 60 minutes.
It sounds like a lot of steps but I assure you, it is very easy and well worth the cook time. It’s not a meal I could make during the week because of time constraints but it is perfect for cold snowy weekend dinner!