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 (Eggplant) Rolls with Ricotta & SpeckIngredients:
- 3 - 4 medium aubergines or eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
- fresh basil leaves (quantity depends on the number of rolls made)
- 70 grams speck, finely chopped
- 200 grams ricotta
- 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- tomato sauce (see recipe below)
- 200 grams mozzarella, squeezed lightly to send away the water then chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- On a griddle, cook both sides of all the sliced aubergines.
- Lay one slice of aubergine on a plate then put a basil leaf, speck, a dollop of ricotta & a sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano. Roll to close.
- Put the rolls in a baking dish previously oiled with extra virgin olive oil.
- When the baking dish is full, pour the tomato sauce on top.
- Sprinkle the parmigiano reggiano on top then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
- Take out the baking dish and distribute the chopped mozzarella on top. Put back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 onion, finely chopped
- 425 grams (1 can) canned tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- dried oregano
- Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the onion.
- Add the canned tomatoes & water. Cook for half an hour on low fire.
- Season with oregano, salt & pepper. Set aside.