This is Mario Batali’s recipe. He says, “it would be better to overcook them by 5 minutes than to undercook them by one.” In addition to my two small augmentations -adding lemon and mint- I think toasted pine-nuts would be a great touch. Simple, delicious!
- 2¼ c EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
- 3 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise into ⅓”-thick slices
- 1 c fresh ricotta (I made my own; will post recipe)
- 1 large egg
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I used a tad more)
- zest of 1 lemon
- handful fresh mint, chopped finely
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 c basic tomato sauce (I made Mario’s and will post that next)
- 1/4 c whole parsley leaves
- In a 10″ or 12″ sauté pan, heat 2 c of the EVOO over medium-high heat until it reaches 370°. Add the eggplant slices 2-4 at a time, and fry, turning once, until soft and light golden brown, about 2 minutes. A splatter screen is helpful here! Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, scallions, nutmeg, lemon zest and mint and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the eggplant slices out on a work surface (or use the pan you’re going to bake them in) and place 1 T of ricotta filling at the base of each slice. Roll the eggplant up around the filling to form a neat roll and set seam side down on the work surface (or in pan).
- If you haven’t already, put the eggplant roll-ups into a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the sauce over them.
- Bake until the cheese starts to melt out of the rolls, 15-25 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 EVOO, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Mario’s Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes 4 cups, prep time 15 mins, cook time about 40
¼ c EVOO
1 Spanish onion, cut into ¼” dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 T chopped fresh thyme
½ medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28 oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook until the carrot is quite soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and bring to a boil, stirring often and mashing the tomatoes some. Lower the heat and simmer until as thick as hot cereal, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.