Involtini di Melanzane, or eggplant rollatini, is a savory dish of sliced, fried eggplant that is wrapped around a cheesy filling and baked in a fresh, homemade marinara sauce. It makes for a great first course or light dinner. It’s also a great vegetarian meal that’s perfect for Meatless Monday.
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I like to serve Involtini di Melanzane as a light dinner with a healthy Panzanella Salad, Easy Sauteed Garlic Broccolini, a few Savory Roasted Garlic Parmesan Palmiers, and Italian Amaretti Peaches for dessert.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Eggplant is a great substitute for meat and when wrapped around a cheesy filling, Involtini di Melanzane is a perfect meal for Meatless Monday.
All You Ever Wanted To Know About Eggplant
- Eggplant, or aubergine, is a member of the nightshade family. They are full of fiber, potassium, vitamin B, and antioxidants.
- To buy eggplant, look for a fruit that has firm, smooth skin and feels heavy in your hand. Avoid eggplant with soft spots or wrinkled skin.
- You can store eggplant on the counter for up to 2 days. Be sure to keep it away from other fruits and vegetables. For longer storage, wrap the eggplant in paper towels and place it in a ziptop bag. Store the fruit in the crisper bin of your refrigerator for up to a week.
- Salting the eggplant prior to cooking helps to remove excess water and bitterness. This is less important these days as it was back in Grandma’s time as most of the bitterness has been bred out of the eggplant. Salting the eggplant does season the fruit and makes it much more delicious.
Ingredients Needed For Involtini di Melanzane
- Kosher salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese
- Onions, garlic
- San Marzano tomatoes
- Fresh basil
Steps To Make This Recipe
- Slice and salt the eggplant and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
- Make the sauce by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil.
- Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil. Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Bread and fry the eggplant slices.
- Mix together the cheeses for the filling and fill the fried eggplant slices.
- Place some sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Add the stuffed, fried eggplant.
- Top with more sauce and bake until golden brown and tender.
- Serve warm.
Involtini di Melanzane, or eggplant rollatini, is a savory dish of sliced, fried eggplant that is wrapped around a cheesy filling and baked in a fresh, homemade marinara sauce. It’s a perfect dish for a Meatless Monday.
For the eggplant:
- 2 large eggplants, sliced into ¼’ slices, lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ cup olive oil
For the filling:
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 large egg
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt. Place the colander over a bowl. Set aside to allow the eggplant to ‘drain’ for 30 minutes.
Make the sauce.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering – about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic.
Saute, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and stir to coat with oil.
Pour in the hand-crushed tomatoes and stir well. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the torn basil Stir well. Cover and set aside.
For the involtini:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and the egg until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
Rinse the eggplant under cold water. Drain well and lay the eggplant on paper towels to dry completely.
In a large zip-top bag, combine the flour, salt, white pepper, and Italian seasoning. Shake to combine.
Place the beaten egg into a shallow dish.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and then in the egg.
Fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown on both sides – about 2 minutes per side.
Add more oil as needed.
Drain the cooked eggplant on paper towels. Allow the eggplant to cool.
Spoon about a cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling onto the thicker end of the eggplant slice and roll it, encasing the filling in the eggplant.
Place the eggplant, seam side down, onto the marinara sauce in the casserole dish.
Repeat with the remaining eggplant and cheese filling.
Spoon additional marinara sauce over the top of each involtini.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until th eggplant is very tender and just starting to turn golden brown at the edges.
Uncover the dish and bake another 10 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Category: Main Dish - Vegetarian
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: involtini di melanzane, Eggplant rollatini, eggplant parmesan, Italian recipes, Italian dinners, Meatless Monday, vegetarian recipes, vegetarian recipes, eggplant, ricotta cheese, casseroles