This recipe showcases the quintessential flavors of Italy – eggplant, mozzarella, basil and tomato passata.
I love this recipe, it is:
- intuitive, almost obvious, and
- soooooo good
I love the squishy mozzarella oozing from the caramelized eggplant and the zing that that sweet tomato and basil bring to the fore. I hope that you do too.
After our recent trip to Italy, I believe that my favorite thing about the Italian food we experienced was the “perfectly simple flavors’. A small number of ingredients are combined and allowed to shine with no fancy extras or fuss.
During our trip I attempted to identify the ingredient/s that gave each meal it’s amazing flavor. In hindsight there was usually no secret ingredients, just the fresh flavors of the ingredients on the plate. I loved that our regular lunch time panini were made with only Prosciutto and Pecorino cheese – that is it. There was no butter and no dressing, and none was required. The two ingredients were just perfect and drew us to repeat the experience each day.
The recipe below is the one we made first up at La Cucina del Gusto cooking school on the Amalfi Coast on the trip we won to Italy. The recipe is published on the school web site. You can find it here.This recipe is one that illustrates that a small number of ingredients, prepared with lovely fresh ingredients makes a meal that can only leave you feeling happy!
At cooking school we used the eggplants grown by the father of the waiter in the restaurant and locally made mozzarella. At home here, my eggplants are no longer in season but I could not resist getting some at my local fruit store to make this dish. I used basil from my garden and passata that I made at the start of the year from our tomato crop.
- 2 long eggplant - skin peeled and thinly sliced into strips (see image)
- Mozzarella pieces - one per eggplant strip, about 50 grams
- fresh basil leaves - one per eggplant strip
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 200 ml tomato passata (approximately)
- cooking oil - ½ tablespoon
- Use a griddle pan to cook all of the eggplant strips on both sides,or grill in the oven
- Heat the oven to 170 degrees
- To the base of each eggplant strip place one fresh basil leaf
- Add a piece of Mozzarella
- Sprinkle with Parmesan
- Roll upwards and away from you
- Repeat until all rolls are complete and then lay them side by side in a baking dish that has a small amount of tomato passata spread on the base
- Top each roll with a small scoop of passata (see image)
- Add a sprinkle of Parmesan to the top
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes until the cheese melts
- Serve with polenta chips and salad for a main meal or as an appetiser
Take the edge of the eggplant and roll up and away from you
My cooking school effort
Invite your friends over this weekend and get a big baking dish full of these tasty Eggplant Involtini into the oven.
Enjoy your weekend.
This recipe is reproduced here with the kind permission from Chef Carmen.
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