Two years after I came out of the A.D.D. closet and began to earnestly grapple with that problem, I decided to take over the chore of the family dinner. I started with simple things like chicken fingers and french fries (turn on oven, put in stuff, take out 20 minutes later…tough, no?) then graduated to Swedish meatballs, chicken francese, various forms of pork tenderloin and then…one day…eggplant rollatini. I”m still not sure why I wanted to make that dish. I don”t like eggplant and cooking it required every cooking skill I had acquired (all seven of them ) and lots of patience. The first time it took two hours to do it and I was not thrilled with the results. But by the third time I made it, I had it down to an hour and decided that I did like eggplant…as long as I peeled off the skin and sliced it very thin.
You will be able to get about 20-25 pieces using the quantities listed below.
- 3 cups of plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp of chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
- At least 2 cups of flour
- 4 eggs
- 32 oz of riccota cheese (you can purchase it in this size…so no measuring needed)
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- 2 quarts of tomato sauce (if not homemade, then you”ll need about 1 1/2 jars of sauce. I used Barilla marinara sauce and use 1 1/2 jars (26 oz jars))
- 1/3 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1/2 lb mozzarella
- Olive oil
- 2 large eggplants (I used three small eggplants that came from my garden)
- Cut off the top of the eggplant. If you like, you can peel the eggplant (that’s my preference).
- Cut thin slices 1/4 inch in thickness or less (I like it real thin). You want to get approximately 20-25 slices.
- In a large bowl mix the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of grated cheese, about 2 tbsp of chopped basil and some salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl put in the flour.
- In another bowl put in the eggs and beat well. You may want to do two eggs at a time. When it runs out, add more eggs.
- Heat up a skillet and add olive oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch or so. Temperature should be medium to high.
- The procedure is:
- Dredge the eggplant in the flour.
- Dip the eggplant in the egg.
- Dip the eggplant in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Fry it up till it is just golden brown.
- Place the fried pieces on a plate that has a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
- After completing all of the frying, combine the following ingredients in a large bowl: the riccota cheese, the 1/2 cup of grated cheese, 1/4 cup of chopped basil, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, chopped garlic and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Mix well.
- Take a baking tray and cover the bottom with a coating of tomato sauce.
- Here”s the “rolling” procedure:
- Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and place it on a piece of the fried eggplant.
- Using the back of the spoon, smear it across the eggplant as if you were smearing a thick layer of peanut butter.
- Place a slice of prosciutto on top.
- Roll it towards you. Don”t press too hard or the cheese will get pushed out.
- Place it in the tray with the seam (the point where the two ends of the eggplant meet) facing down.
- Hang in there…we”re in the home stretch.
- Slice the mozzarella into thin strips if it is fresh mozzarella or grate it if it is not fresh.
- Take your tablespoon and run a line of tomato sauce across the top of the rollatini.
- Place your mozzarella cheese across the top of the rollatini.
- Bake in a 350 F degree oven for about 15 minutes.
- Give it at least five minutes to cool down after baking. This allows the cheese to re-solidify a bit and not be too runny.
- This needs some nice Italian bread.