Ingredients

1 large eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup olive oil
4 cups Ritz cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoon parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoon granulated garlic
Salt
Pepper
1 small container Ricotta
1 egg
2 teaspoon Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 quart Marinara Sauce
¼  cup Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions

1. Place eggplant slices on 4 baking sheets.  Lightly salt eggplant on both sides.  Let stand one hour.  Using paper towels, pat eggplant dry, wiping off salt
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Mix cracker crumbs with garlic, cheese and spices.
4. Take eggplant and dip into olive oil.  Dip eggplant into cracker crumb mixture.
5. Place on baking sheet.  Place in oven and bake until eggplant is cooked thoroughly. This will take approximately 12-15 minutes.
6. Mix the ricotta in a separate bowl with the egg, cheese and fresh basil.
7. Take a casserole dish and cover the bottom with marinara sauce.
8. Allow time for the eggplant to cool, scoop a spoonful of the ricotta mixture onto the thinnest end of the eggplant and roll up gently.  Place rolls in casserole dish until all the eggplant is filled.
9. Top the eggplant with marinara across the middle of the rolls.  Sprinkle with cheese. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes and the cheese is golden on top.

Recipe courtesy of Julie Geary, Classic Cooks Catering, 2011.

This is a favorite recipe of Julie Geary at Classic Cooks Catering for several reasons. First, she is a big fan of both eggplant and marinara sauce as ingredients.  August and September are great months for many of these main ingredients, especially the locally grown tomatoes, eggplant and basil. Second, it is a main dish vegetarian meal with plenty of protein provided by the ricotta. Another consideration is healthy eating. If you want to make it a little healthier you can use the low fat version of the ricotta with no significant loss or change in the taste. It is also a healthier substitution for eggplant parmesan because with Eggplant Rollatini there is no frying involved.

Lastly, if you are planning to entertain a lot of people, like caterers have to contend with frequently, this recipe is very handy. According to Julie, “We are always looking for dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and baked when ready to eat. If you are entertaining a large crowd-preparation can be done ahead and popped in the oven just before eating.” Another benefit is that the rolled eggplant can be frozen and cooked at another time, which really allows you to prepare ahead.
Eggplant Rollatini
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