1 ounce whole-wheat French bread, toasted and torn into pieces
8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 large egg
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup) and divided
How to Make It
Combine oil and tomatoes in a medium saucepan; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups. Cool 10 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat broiler to high.
Sprinkle eggplant slices evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; arrange slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly coat eggplant with cooking spray. Broil 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place remaining 2 garlic cloves in a mini food processor; pulse until chopped. Add nuts and bread; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Add ricotta, rind, and egg; process until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup basil and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Spread 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture onto each eggplant slice; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Place rolls, seam sides down, over sauce in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining basil.
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Let me start by saying this turned out to be a delicious dish and a great way to use up fresh tomatoes from the garden. This recipe did, however, take a solid 2 hours to make. Also, the recipe could have been written better, ex: step one toast pine nuts and bread and set aside, instead of getting halfway through the process and realizing several ingredients should have been prepared up front.
I made this a few nights ago and loved the sauce with the fresh tomatoes, it was delicious. The eggplant was good although I will peel it next time. I didn't not enjoy the filling at all. I will make this again but will probably fill it with a more tradtional ricotta mixture and skip the pine nuts, bread, and basil, maybe adding the basil to the sauce.
Plan on 2 hours total prep and cooking time. I added 3 cloves of garlic and dried oregano to the tomato sauce. I peeled the eggplant. I added parsley to cheese mixture. The pine nuts were OK with us. I don't think I will add the toasted bread next time - it didn't really serve a purpose. This also needs a touch more salt. Overall, not bad.
Good solid eggplant recipe; one my husband calls a "keeper". By accident I left out the lemon peel the second time and we like it better with out it. We like eggplant peel and leave it in the recipe. Changes, added a pinch of red pepper and parsley to the sauce for some kick. As my eggplants ripen this summer we will have this often.
Used homegrown tomatoes & basil, outcome was very nice. It was hot today, so I grilled the eggplant rather than broiling. Baking time had to be increased by 10 minutes though. Next time I'll add oregano to the ricotta mix, it needed a bit more herb influence.
I thought this dish was really good! I did opt to peel the eggplant because I am not that fond of the skin. The lemon in the ricotta filling was just perfect and the garlic was definitely not overwhelming. It is Italian food! I love that the tomato sauce relies almost entirely on the flavor of fresh tomatoes. It was great.