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Eggplant Involtini (And PW Winner Announced!)

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So wait, I thought the chicken was the eggplant. BA-DOMP.

I’m here all night, folks.

So, eggplant is that vegetable that I totally on purpose forget about. I see it every summer in farmers’ markets, in various shapes, sizes and stunning shades of purple, and I run away like the boogie man is chasing me with a wasps nest. I don’t know what my deal is. Oh wait! I know what it is. Eggplant is like, the sweatiest vegetable ever with all that moisture trapped inside, and there’s only room for one sweater in the kitchen.

 

I really need to not talk about sweat so much on a food blog.

 

FAT CHANCE.

However, there’s a restaurant in town that serves t-h-e-m-o-s-t-u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-y-s-u-c-c-u-l-e-n-t eggplant parmesan that it requires an obscene amount of hyphens between letters to describe it. And it makes me actually like eggplant. So much that I’ll take a bite and let it sit on my tongue for an hour and look like a complete idiot with my eyes rolled to the back of my head and border-line disturbing noises escaping from my face.

It’s so . . . cute?

 

I’m not trying to recreate that here, because you just CAN’T. I’m pretty sure they have magical aliens in their kitchen with wands and capes and chants or whatever. But I did want to create a simple eggplant “roll-up” with seasoned ricotta (SPEAKING OF, I’m going to make homemade ricotta. omg, I can hardly wait. Have you done it? Do I need a cheesecloth because I was JUST at Sur La T — okay we can talk about this later), a layer of baby spinach, all baked in a fresh tomato sauce and an insane amount of melted cheese.

 

It had to be done.

 

And I’m realizing this is the second dish in a row I’m showing you that has an embarrassing amount of melted cheese on top. I must be going through something emotional internally.

You just now figured out the chicken/eggplant joke, didn’t you?

There’s room in this for you.

Climb on in.

Okay! The winner of Ree’s Cooking Essential kit selected by Random.org iiiiiiis: Jennifer C who said, “Curled them under with curling iron. Went to school plenty of times with burns on my forehead!! :-/!” Nice job, Jennifer! I emailed ya. Thanks to everyone who played!

Eggplant Involtini:

What it took for 6-8 roll ups:

* 1 eggplant, sliced thinly into 6-8 strips
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 1 egg
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 4 basil leaves, chopped
* 1 cup freshly torn spinach
* 1 – 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Add the canned tomatoes and pulse to combine. Spoon about a cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish.

In batches, place 2 slices of eggplant on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until pliable. Continue with the remaining slices.

Arrange a few paper towels on a rimmed baking sheet and place the hot eggplant slices on top. Press each slice with paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible.

In the meantime, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, garlic, basil, a pinch of coarse salt and pepper in a small bowl or cup. Stir to combine.

Spoon the ricotta mixture in the center of each eggplant slice. Top with torn spinach. Roll slices up and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the roll ups. Sprinkle with cheese. Yes.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted. If it’s not browning and bubbly like you want, flip the oven to broil to finish her off.

Serve with fresh basil and dig. in.

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37 Responses to Eggplant Involtini (And PW Winner Announced!)

  1. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven June 19, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Ha…I’ve felt the same way about eggplant. Learning to slowly like it…especially if it’s served with all of this magical deliciousness!!! Looks fantastic! :)

  2. Ashley @ Hudson on the Potomac June 19, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    I’m with you on the eggplant front, I usually swap it out for zucchini because it’s not my fav. I could probably handle in covered in all that cheese & sauce deliciousness though!!

  3. Tina {My Life as a Mrs} June 19, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    O.M.G. This looks UH.Mazing.

  4. Jennifer C June 19, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Grew up having eggplant parm, in which the eggplant was fried before assembling. This looks like a much healthier (even with the 2 cups of mozz!) and fresher version! Cant wait to try it! :))

  5. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. June 19, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    yum! This looks amazing! I am an eggplant freak

  6. IdaBaker June 19, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    I’m not a big eggplant fan, but this recipe might change my mind. That cheese looks like the killer for me. :)

  7. Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings June 19, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    YUM!!!!

  8. Villy @ For the love of Feeding June 19, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    No eggplant for me until i was 10. And then it happened… I suddenly loved it! And still do! Yummyyyyy dish!

  9. Kathryn June 19, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    It took me a looong time to get eggplant (which is a weird name anyway, what’s wrong with aubergine??) but now I love them.

  10. juliawannabe June 19, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    We all like eggplant…if its roased and has lots of garlic?? Baba Ghanoush is wonderful!!

    But lets get back to making homemade ricotta…seems quite easy, any chance I can poison the family, unintentionaly of course?

    Lots of foodnetwork show have restaurants making their own with just milk and lemon juice. Ina Garten adds a bunch of herbs and serves on garlic toast.

    • Bev Weidner June 19, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      Yes, yes, yes! Just milk and lemon juice, which sounds SO easy. I just have to try it. And add garlic to it. Oh, my.

  11. Heather June 19, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    totally get the forgetting on-accident-on-purpose thing…eggplant’s a strange bird (BOOM!) sometimes

  12. Cindy M June 19, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    How is it that I hear about all these giveaways AFTER the fact??? =)

  13. Megan @ Country Cleaver June 19, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Bev – Laurie made my Ricotta for the TK blog back in January – it’s ridiculously easy – I am never going to buy it again – not to mention – adding lemon zest and basil to it will give you the Meg-Ryan-in-the-dinner experience, eyes rolling and animal sounds are completely acceptable under the circumstances.

  14. Karly June 19, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Dude, vegetables can be scary. No shame in running from them.

    Oh, and make the ricotta! It will change your life. And, yeah, I think you probably do need cheese cloth.

  15. Erin June 19, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Yes please don’t mind if I do!

  16. Wenderly June 19, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Gorgeous!!!

  17. FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) June 19, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    I have made ricotta several times recently…check out Smitten Kitchen’s blog and do a search for ricotta. Easy Peasy, and so good! She gives 3 methods…I use the 3rd….extra cream makes it oh, so good!

  18. Blog is the New Black June 19, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I adore eggplant! Love this!

  19. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts June 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    I completely ignore eggplant as well. It scares me for some unknown reason! But this looks incredible, I might just have to buy an eggplant this week!

  20. Averie @ Averie Cooks June 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Love this eggplant recipe and I’m awful at making eggplant turn out properly. I need you to come give me a tutorial!

  21. Tracey E. June 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Looks sooooo healthy and delicious Bev!!!! :)

  22. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    This looks so delicious, Bev! Love that so many bloggers keep it simple with Italian dishes – the essence of Italian cooking is good ingredients and simplicity, after all! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Katie June 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Roll me up in one of those bad boys.

  24. carly {carlyklock} June 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    You must be mad at your husband if you’ve been using a lot of cheese lately. ;-)

    These look so so yummy.

  25. angela@spinachtiger June 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    That is a lot of cheese, but hey who’s counting. I love eggplant and I don’t make it near enough. Great recipe. We have it in the garden right now and I can’t wait. I’ll be forced to remember eggplant.

  26. Adrianne June 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Everyone needs a little Bev in their life. FREAKING YUM.

  27. Ashley June 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    This is making my stomach groan right now!! Need to swipe up eggplant ASAP!

  28. Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen June 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Yum city Bev! It took me a long time, but I have definitely hopped on the eggplant train. And pretty much anything with that much melted cheese on top has to be delicious!

  29. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    This is one of my all time favorite meals! Yum!

  30. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet June 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    This dish can totally turn me into an eggplant obsessed! Yum!

  31. Cookie and Kate June 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I have mixed feelings about eggplant, but cover it with cheese and tomato sauce and I’m all about it.

  32. Marina {YummyMummyKitchen.com} June 20, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    We are big eggplant people in our house and this recipe is perfect. Yum !

  33. Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen June 20, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I was on the fence with eggplant for a long time. But, these days it’s a total love affair…..love, love, love eggplant….and especially when it involves tomatoes and lots of cheese :)

  34. Heather Christo June 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m kinda scared of eggplant. not really a fan. However. You just smothered it in most of my favorite things, and I have always been secretly obsessed with this dish despite never trying it. Now’s my chance :)

  35. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids June 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Oh, my. Remind me to never go a week again without reading your blog posts. Because now all I want to do is cook every single dish in a 24-hour period, and clearly I do not have time to do that since I have not even made the time to read blog posts. Wow….this eggplant looks amazingly, amazingly delicious!!

  36. Aggie June 25, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    I love me some eggplant. But it’s been a while. You have to try making it breaded and then just freezing a ton for quickie eggplant parm or my fave just sliced on a spinach salad. Good stuff.

    This dish if goodness reminds me of my parents restaurant!!! Looks delicious.

    And you seriously crack me up in the bes way!! Love you!

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