Aubergine & Ricotta Rolls
These aubergine and ricotta rolls with cherry tomato sauce are a dish that you can serve either as a main course or as a side dish. A dish full of flavour thanks to the use of three typically Mediterranean ingredients that will give it a unique character.
For this dish, I deep fried the aubergine slices, but you can also make a lighter version by grilling them. I'm not gonna lie - they are not gonna taste the same if you grill them! Frying the aubergines gives this dish a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and makes a huge difference, so I highly recommend it.
Ingredients (for 2 as a main or 4 as a side)
For the tomato sauce:
400g cherry tomato sauce (you can use alternatively tomato polpa or pureed tomatoes if you prefer a smooth sauce
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
For the rolls:
2 large aubergines, peeled and sliced lengthwise in 1cm thick slices
Peanut or sunflower to deep fry
250g fresh ricotta
2-3 fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp grated parmigiano or caciocavallo cheese
125g mozzarella, sliced
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of black pepper
Salt to taste
A drizzle of olive oil
To prepare the delicious eggplant rolls with tomato and ricotta, let's start by cleaning and cutting the aubergines into 1cm thick slices. Sprinkle them with salt and layer them in a colander, pressing them with a weight. Allow them to rest for 30 mins and release the bitterness. Pat them dry and then fry in hot oil. Drain the excess on a kitchen paper and allow the to cool.
In the meantime, to a wide pan add the olive oil, the garlic, basil and tomatoes, and simmer the sauce, covered, after seasoning with salt, sugar and pepper, for about 20 minutes.
In a bowl, reduce the ricotta to a cream using a fork. add the chopped basil, grated cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt, and give it a nice mix.
Place one slice of fried aubergine on the counter, scoop one teaspoon of ricotta filling onto one end of the slice, and roll it onto itself. Roll up and place seam side down on a plate. Repeat with all the remaining slices and stuffing.
Transfer the sauce to an oven-safe tray or pan and arrange the rolls on top of it, still seam-side down. Top the rolls with mozzarella slices, breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Transfer to a pre-heated oven on grill mode to 220 C. Bake for just 5-10 minutes, until the top is nice and crispy.