We’re heading up to New Hampshire for a mini end of the summer vacation tomorrow; a perfect end to a very action-packed summer. However, I still can’t believe fall will be setting in soon and although it is my favorite season, I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer.
Generally when I make eggplant, I make eggplant parm, but this is a great alternative, and it is quite filling too. With a simple salad alongside, this made for a very satisfying meal.
This dish also received Mike’s stamp of approval, and for someone who doesn’t really like eggplant I think that is a big win.
Rolled Eggplant with Sausage and MozzarellaAdapted from Williams-Sonoma, Cooking from the Farmers’ Market I couldn’t find any decent looking Italian or Asian eggplants when I went shopping here, so I used two small regular eggplants. 2 lb. Italian or Asian eggplant, trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil 6 oz. Italian sausage, casings removed 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes 1 small onion, diced 1 small garlic clove, minced 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into a small dice 4 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Brush the eggplant on both sides with the 1/4 cup olive oil and season lightly with salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet or sheets. If you are worried about the eggplants sticking, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned underneath, about 10 minutes. Turn the slices over with a wide spatula and bake until tender, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
In a medium size sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add diced onion and sauté 5 to 7 minutes until soft. Add garlic and the sausage, breaking up into small pieces, sautéing until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozzarella, 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the sauce on the bottom of a 9-inch baking dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese mixture near the wide end of each eggplant slice, roll up, and place upright or upside down in the sauce. I portioned the cheese mixture out across all of the eggplant slices before rolling up for even cheese distribution. Spoon the remaining sauce between the rolls. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4.