Teresa Sabga
Active time
30 Mins
Total time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Yield
4 servings (3 rolls per serving)

Traditionally, eggplant involtini is a casserole of thinly sliced eggplant stuffed with ricotta and simmered in tomato sauce. We decided to combine this with another classic, lasagna. Here, the eggplant slices are stuffed with beef ragu and mozzarella and surrounded with sweet carrots, tomato sauce, and fresh herbs. For the base of our ragu, we're using pomodorini, distinctly sweet cherry tomatoes that are hand-picked in the south of Italy. Assemble and freeze this dish a few days in advance to make weeknight cooking a breeze.

How to Make It

In a medium pot over medium heat, sauté the celery, onion, and carrots in olive oil. Once softened, add the meat and allow it to brown. Add in the tomato paste, wine, canned tomatoes, rosemary, and ½ teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the tops and bottoms off the eggplant and use a mandolin to thinly slice, lengthwise, into about 12 slices. Spritz with olive oil spray and sprinkle with remaining salt. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside to cool completely. 

Lower the oven to 350°F. Spoon a thin layer of ragu sauce into a nine-inch pie dish, or a nine by 13-inch oblong casserole dish. To create the eggplant rolls, place one basil leaf, two tablespoons of ragu, and two mozzarella pearls on one end of an eggplant slice and carefully roll before placing seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the dish is packed tightly and all slices of eggplant have been used. Spoon remaining ragu over rolls.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately and sprinkle fresh basil leaves overtop. 

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