After 2 years and 2 apartments in New York , I found myself living in the heart of the Lower East Side, and I absolutely fell in love. Fell in love not just with the lower-manhattan neighborhood, but also with my boyfriend who I met a week before I moved in and who happened to live about 5 blocks from my new LES pad. One of many reasons why I love Matt is that he introduced me to Nonna’s, a tiny Lower East Side authentic Italian eatery and home to some of the best pizza I’ve ever tried. More and more I started ordering Nonna’s. I graduated from their pizza and began trying more of their menu items. The eggplant parmesan sub is to die for, which led me to then try their Eggplant Rolatini. OMG, this dish immediately became my favorite and I still don’t know how I’d never tried it until then. I started noticing rolatinis on menus everywhere and ordering it all the time. Each Eggplant Rolatini is a thin slice of often fried eggplant wrapped around a cheesy filling and then baked with classic tomato sauce and even more cheese. What’s not to like?
Whenever I find a dish I really like, I always make my own version at home, and Eggplant Rolatini is no exception. Now fast forward to today. This weekend, Matt is out of town, and I used my Solo-Saturday to veg out around the apartment and cook myself a yummy dinner of what else but Eggplant Rolatini. My version is easier and lighter because the eggplant is roasted instead of fried. My filling is a simple mixture of garlicky spinach and ricotta, and I used a spicy, homemade marinara for the sauce which I also made today.
I am so happy with the way this dish turned out. I think my favorite part of it was the spinach and ricotta filling, which was creamy and flavorful. As always I saved half of the recipe for Matt to try when he comes home, but it’s going to be really hard to resist eating it as a late night commercial break.
Roasted Eggplant Rolatini Serves: 2 Start to Finish: 50-60 minutes Ingredients 1 medium Eggplant Olive Oil Kosher Salt, fine grain Black Pepper 1 clove Garlic, minced 5-6 ounces Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves 1/3 cup Ricotta Cheese 2 TBS shredded Parmesan Cheese 2/3 cups Tomato Sauce 1/3 cup shredded Fresh Mozzarella To Make Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim the top and bottom of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant length-wise into 6 slices. I trimmed a small sliver off of each side before slicing. Drizzle the slices with 1 TBS oil. Flip slices over and drizzle with another tablespoon of oil. Season each side of slice with a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping once half way through cooking. While the eggplant roasts, make the spinach mixture. Add 1 tsp olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic to a medium skillet. Heat skilled to medium. When the garlic begins to sizzle in the olive oil (1-2 minutes), add the spinach leaves, tearing them as you go, and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss the spinach leaves frequently, cooking for 4 minutes. Transfer spinach to a small bowl to cool for 5-10 minutes. After cooling, add ricotta cheese and parmesan to spinach, stir to combine. When eggplant is finished and slightly cooled, you are ready to assemble the dish. Decrease the oven temp to 400 degrees. Layout eggplant slices. Add about 1 TBS spinach mixture to each slice, placing the spinach on the wider end of the slice. Roll 'em up. In a pie dish or other baking dish, spread over the bottom 1/3 cup tomato sauce. Add eggplant rolls in a single layer on top of the sauce. Pour another 1/3 cup of sauce on top of the rolls. Sprinkle a tablespoon of shredded fresh mozzarella onto each roll. Bake the dish for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve rolls on their own or with pasta. YUM.