The strong smell of tomatoes mixed with aubergines, basil & ricotta was wafting throughout the house. "The house smells incredibly good," my husband greeted me as he entered the house. I knew he would say that because the combination of ingredients of the aubergine rolls is his favorite. This was his dinner, while the kids and I would be having fish with aubergine salad. Like me, both kids have a particular liking of aged cheese. Fresh cheese never attracted me but I am giving myself a chance to try out this dish. Maybe I can eat a roll or two as my hundredth approach to my initiation to eating ricotta.
Amongst my big bundle of gastronomic souvenir from our vacation in the Dolomites, are some speck that should perk up the taste. Aubergine rolls or involtini di melanzane are commonly found on Italian tables. What varies is the filling. Usually, it's just tomatoes, basil & mozzarella but then there's a whole world of ingredients that can go well with aubergines so you can put anything.
I have to admit, the smell compelled me to grab myself a couple of rolls. For a non-ricotta lover, I found it very good. But my limit was two. My husband, however finished the whole baking dish meant for four. I didn't see the need to ask him if it was good. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Aubergine Rolls with Ricotta & Speck
- 200 grams mozzarella
- 200 grams ricotta
- 3 - 4 medium aubergines, sliced lengthwise
- 70 grams speck, chopped finely
- 425 grams canned tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- dried oregano
- 1/4 onion, chopped finely
- 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
2. Add the canned tomatoes & water. Cook for half an hour on low fire. Season with oregano, salt & pepper. Set aside.
3. Meantime, grill the sliced aubergines on both sides.
4. To prepare the rolls, put one slice of aubergine on a plate. Lay one basil leaf, some speck, a dollop of ricotta & a sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano. Roll to close.
5. Put the rolls in an oiled baking dish. When the baking dish is full, pour the tomato sauce on top.
6. Sprinkle the parmigiano reggiano on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 10 minutes.
8. Take out the baking dish and distribute the chopped mozzarella on top. Put back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
9. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.