Ingredients for this dish include:
olive oil as needed
salt and pepper
egg plant, large 1
pomodoro sauce approximately 3 cups (+ or -)
Bulk Italian Sausage approximately 1 lb
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese approximately 8 slices
Yellow onion 1/2 ea
This what we want to end up with.
The recipe starts with sliced egg plant. I normally cut this by hand but tried using my mandoline this time. I am sold on it! Nice uniform slices, quick, easy, clean up is quick too! These slices are about a 1/4 inch thick.
The next step is to grill the egg plant. I used a cast iron griddle pan on my gas range. Before the eggplant was grilled I brushed it with olive oil and seasoned it with salt and pepper. While the eggplant was grilling on the first side, I brushed the other side with olive oil and seasoned it too. You want the egg plant to cook through but not be overcooked
After egg plant was grilled I sauteed the Italian sausage with some diced onion. Here is the sausage cooked through.
The grilled eggplant is laid out in a criss cross pattern. A medallion of fresh mozzarella cheese is placed the center of each eggplant stack.
The cooked sausage goes right on top of the cheese. The reason the cheese goes first is that when this is fully wrapped and turned over the cheese will be on top. This will allow it to melt down into the sausage during the cooking process.
The first wrapping: Fold in the sides of the egg plant layer the cheese and sausage are on.
Now fold over the remaining "leaves" of egg plant and turn the entire thing over. This holds the eggplant in place. The alternate folds of eggplant, help keep the filling inside during cooking and serving.
Have your pomodoro sauce hot. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with sauce and lay the eggplant bundles on the sauce.
I like things saucy!
These baked for about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When they were bubbling hot, I added a small amount of cheese on top of each eggplant bundle to mark it's location.
The finished eggplant is served with a side of pasta. With the sausage, this dish actually seemed lighter than rollatinis made just with cheese.
I hope you try this. It really is easy, nice to look at, tastes wonderful too. It pairs nicely with a salad for a dinner party. You can assemble the dish up to the point of putting it in the oven and keep it in your refrigerator until you are ready to cook (just use cold or barely warm sauce). Pull it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to put it in the oven.
Until next time.
Chef Leslie Bartosh, CEC, FMP