This dish has intimidated me for years, but once I tried, I wondered why I hadn’t done it before. It is really easy to make and requires no special skill. The most attention it needs is to keep an eye on the eggplant under the broiler to make sure it gets just a nice amount of browning. The rest is a breeze… And the end result is so worth it!
You may wonder why I am giving such a complete and detailed list of equipment needed… I once found myself in the middle of a recipe calling for beating up egg whites and whipping up heavy cream, only to realize I only had a hand whisk available for these tasks. I have sworn this would never happen again… Since that day, the first thing I do before I start cooking is to get all my tools out. I hope you find this information useful too!
- 1 eggplant large
- kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil (for brushing)
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary oregano, thyme, or a combination of these
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 24 oz jar organic tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Trim the stem of the eggplant and slice it lengthwise in 1/4" thick slices (discard the end slice with the skin and keep it for another use). You should have 8 slices. Lay them flat on a wire rack above a baking sheet without overlapping.
- Sprinkle kosher salt on one side on the eggplant. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it starts drawing moisture then flip over the eggplant and salt the other side (if you flip it right away, the salt will just fall off…). Let them stand for another 50 minutes.
- Shake the liquid off the eggplant and carefully wipe them dry with a paper towel on both sides.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant lightly with olive oil. Leave them on the wire rack over the sheet pan.
- Heat up your oven's broiler on high and place the baking sheet under the broiler for about 4 minutes or until the eggplant starts browning lightly, flip the slices over and broil another 4 minutes on the other side. Remove from the oven and adjust your oven to bake at 425 deg F
- In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary or any other herb of your choice save the basil for later), a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Brush the bottom of a 8 x 8" baking dish with olive oil. Spoon the tomato sauce into it.
- Place 4 slices of eggplant onto your cutting board and place 3 tablespoons of filling on the end of each (1/8 of your mixture). Place a basil leaf on top, then roll up each slice and place in the dish on top of the tomato sauce
- Repeat with the last 4 slices.
- Spoon 1/2 tbsp of heavy cream on top of each roll.
- Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the tomato sauce is bubbly and the cheese top nicely browned. Serve warm.
What do you do with other 4 slices of eggplant? I missed in the recipe. Prep time should be at least 50 minutes. Thanks
Hi Bridget! Thank you for pointing out this error. An instruction was missing “repeat with the other 4 slices”… Not that this is an excuse, but this was one of my earliest recipes posted on this blog and I missed this omission… As for the time, different cooks work at different speeds and they are always given as an estimate. Keep in mind that the time to let the liquid drain out of the eggplant is not counted as active “prep” time but as “rest time”. Hope this answers your questions.