Friday, 3 June 2011
Rotolini di Melanzana ( Mozzarella filled Aubergine- Eggplant Rolls)
This is a truly fantastic dish, very closely related to Parmigiana, but somehow lighter, I would say. It's a good dish for a buffet, as it's good eaten hot or cold, with a slice of crusty bread.
To me, this is a family dish, so easy to share, as you don't have to serve it: just place the dish in the middle of the table, so people can help themselves. No matter how many rotolini you prepare, I can assure you there will be no left overs.
Before you start preparing your aubergines (eggplant) you need to make a basic tomato sauce.
A few glugs of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
750 mls (1 1/2 pt) passata
Grated Parmesan cheese
(as much as you like!)
In a frying pan, heat some oil and when really hot, fry the coated aubergine slices until golden, place onto kitchen paper (this will absorb most of the oil) and carry on until every slice is cooked.
You should have about fifteen slices, ready to be filled. Like my mum taught me, I arrange my aubergine slices onto a board, almost lined up like little soldiers. I have my mozzarella, chopped, my garlic chopped as well, a nice little bunchlet of parsley, some salt, pepper and my Parmesan ready to be grated, at the end. I place some mozzarella, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic in the middle of each slice. When each one of them is ready, I sprinkle lots of Parmesan all over, like a snow shower. It looks very pretty!
By this point, that fantastic combination (garlic, parsley, black pepper and cheese) reaches my nostrils and fills my minds with lots of culinary memories (just my mum and I in our kitchen!) and I have to shake myself up, as my slices need to be rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick, one at a time.
Next, I place some of the tomato sauce at the bottom of an oven proof dish and arrange my rotolini so they are close to each other in the dish, and I finish off by almost covering the dish in tomato sauce. Again, a generous sprinkling of cheese and some black pepper will complete my dish, which... is now ready to be baked
(220C/420F/gas7) until the sauce is bubbling and the top of the dish is beginning to brown.
Every time I cook this dish or Parmigiana, I get a few burnt "spots" ( not on me, on the dish!) This is ok, as the burnt "bits" actually make your "rotolini" taste better (or so I was led to believe by my mother!
These are really good eaten with some crusty bread, like ciabatta, baguette, or panini and are really easy to make.