This Eggplant Rollatini is basically Eggplant Parmigiana (or as the Italians call it 'Parmigiana di Melanzane') but in a rolled-up style. Eggplant slices are first lightly coated in flour and then fried. Following that, they're smothered in a homemade tomato sauce; then topped with shredded Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, mozzarella, and fresh basil; and then they're rolled into a rollatini shape. Finally, you place them in a baking dish with more tomato sauce and cheese and baked to perfection -until soft, cheesy and bubbly.
1/2cupCooking Oil for frying (you will need to add a little bit to the pan after each batch)
Homemade Tomato Sauce
2tbspOlive OilExtra Virgin
1/2Large Vidalia Onionsor one small one; chopped
1bottlePassata (Tomato Puree)24 oz.
1teaspoonSalt+ more to taste if needed
1/2teaspoonPepper+ more to taste if needed
1/2teaspoonSugar+ more to taste if needed
Eggplant Rollatini Casserole
16Fried Eggplant Slicesapproximately
4cupsHomemade Tomato Sauce
1cup Mozzarella Cheeseshredded
1/2cupFresh Mozzarella Cheesesliced and cut in halves
Prepare your eggplant:
Slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Lay them flat and add salt on each slice.
Wait for about half an hour for your eggplant to "sweat." The salt will help to release excess water, which in turn will help with eggplant's texture once fried, and might help with removing some of the bitterness from the eggplant.
After 30 minutes have passed, use a paper towel to wipe off the excess moisture from each slice.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Chop onions and garlic.
Heat up olive oil in a pan; add onions and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Add red wine and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until reduced by half.
Add passata, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar; cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.
Fry the eggplant
Season eggplant with pepper and dust it in flour.
Fry 2-3 slices of eggplant at the time. (Eggplant can soak up whatever is put on it, so you don't want to coat your slices in flour until you are able to fry them)
Work in batches. Continue frying eggplant until all slices are fried. Be sure to add a little oil to the pan for every batch.
Assemble the dish and bake:
Once all your eggplant slices are fried and your sauce is ready, you can preheat your oven to 350F and start assembling the dish.
Using a stone casserole bake dish (I use a 1.7 oz one from Le Creuset), spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce at the bottom.
Add a tablespoon of sauce on each eggplant slice; then 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella, and the same amount of shredded parmesan and roll them up.
Place the eggplant rollatini in the dish with the sauce (you can put them flat or standing up as I did here for a more dramatic look).
Top the dish with the remaining sauce and pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese and any remaining shredded cheeses.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven; add torn, fresh basil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!