“A bad neighbor is a misfortune .. as much as a good one is a great blessing” ~ Hesiod
Throughout life's seasons .. I've had the good fortune of living in places with a true sense of community .. neighbors that not only keep an eye .. but genuinely care for one another. Today is no exception.
There have been pot-lucks to trim 18 foot (!) Christmas trees .. parties to celebrate weddings .. casseroles left at the door of those that are sick .. and get-togethers .. just because. Thus was the invitation this past weekend .. both families love to cook .. a great opportunity to try something new.
This recipe flagged for quite some time ..
Eggplant rollatini is Italian .. Involtini translated to mean “little bundles” or “stuffed rolls”
Though variations of the traditional recipe abound .. the common theme remains .. slices of eggplant that are cut .. breaded .. rolled around a mix of cheese & other ingredients .. and baked in the oven. The dish typically served with a sauce ..
At first blush .. it seemed far too complicated .. looking closer .. not so much. Each of the components was made ahead of time .. with assembly happening about an hour before serving. In a lot of ways reminding me of the process one would embark on .. when a good lasagna is the only thing that will do
The secret here is the filling .. though nothing about it is Italian. The pistachios, feta cheese, capers, and quinoa are fantastic together. We kept it safe & went with a milder sauce .. though one could take it any direction they would like.
Whatever you do .. have fun with the rolling the eggplants. It's kind of like basket-weaving .. only slightly more useful
~ Adapted from Nigella Lawson .. here
Involtini Di Melanzane
- 2 medium eggplants sliced thin (~ 1/3" - 1/2" thick)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- Hot Sauce
- We love & used Frontera'sTomatillo Salsa .. though use your favorite
- 1 cup quinoa cooked according to the package instructions (** Note: the original used bulgur)
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp pistachio nuts roughly chopped, divided (** saving 2 Tbsp for the topping)
- 8 oz feta cheese crumbled, divided (** saving 3 oz for the topping)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 green onions finely sliced
- 2 Tbsp capers drained
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 3 oz feta cheese crumbled (** saved from the stuffing above)
- 1 dash olive oil
- 1 pinch dried basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped pistachios ** saved from the stuffing above
- Prepare the Eggplant
- Brush with a pastry brush .. or spritz the eggplant slices with olive oil
- Sprinkle with salt & pepper
- Cook them on the grill until they are slightly browned, and tender on the inside. Alternately, they can be cooked on the stovetop in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.
- Let cool.
- Prepare the Stuffing
- Cook the quinoa (or bulged) according to the recipe on the box
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the egg, and combine
- Add the egg, using your hands to gently combine with the other ingredients
- Assemble and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Place the grilled eggplants .. one by one .. in front of you
- Add a couple of spoonfuls of the stuffing at the bottom of eggplant slice & roll it up, lengthwise, away from you.
- Put the eggplant rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Pour the hot sauce over the top and scatter the crumbled feta, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with a pinch of dried basil.
- Bake 30 minutes
- Remove from the oven and let it rest at least 15 minutes before serving (the stuffed rolls shouldn't be piping hot)
- Sprinkle with remaining pistachios before serving