Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eggplant Spinach Involtini

Growing up with a 100% Italian Father has made me very curious about the real cuisine of the country.  I have been digging deep into different cultural dishes lately and decided to use my eggplant from my Bountiful Basket in something truly Italian.  Although this dish has a fancy name, it means nothing more than 'Little Bundles.'  Involtini typically is made with thin slices of meat with ricotta inside and grilled, then baked in gravy (tomato sauce).

This was the first time I have made this, so it definitely wasn't picture perfect!

1 Jar/Can Spaghetti Sauce
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 Eggplant (sliced thin- 1/4-1/2")
1 Scallion
3 cloves Garlic
Fresh Basil (10ish leaves)
Fresh Parsley (a handful)
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese
1 16oz container Cottage Cheese
1 egg or 2 whites
2 cups Spinach (frozen is fine)
1.5 Cups Shredded Mozzarella

Slice the eggplant and salt each side, then lay flat.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to sweat.  Wipe each side off to remove moisture and then grill eggplant to make pliable. I grilled in my oven. *Make sure to spray the surface- mine stuck and I had to start over.  When done grilling, let cool for at least 10 minutes before assembling.

Puree the following in a food processor:
Scallion, Garlic, Basil, Parsley, Parmesan

Put into a bowl and set aside.

Sieve the cottage cheese so that most of the liquid drains out- otherwise your cheese mixture will be rather runny. 

Put cottage cheese and 1 egg in the food processor and pulse until creamy.  Add cottage cheese mixture to seasoning mixture then add spinach and about 1/2 c mozzarella- Or as my Dad would say: "Mooozerellll!"

Put Tomato Sauces in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Now, take one piece of grilled eggplant and put 1 scoop of cheese/spinach mixture on fat end.  Roll up lightly and place seam side down in tomato sauce.  Repeat until all eggplant is gone.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 mins.  Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella over the top and bake for another 10 minutes.

After removing from oven, let rest for about 10 minutes to set.

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