Cooktop Cove: How to make beef and eggplant rollatini
By Laura Martin
Beef and Eggplant Rollatini I discovered this recipe a few years ago when I had my first backyard garden and found myself with an abundance of vegetables. Eggplant is, I believe one of the most underrated. What other vegetable turns meaty when roasted, creamy when pureed, and tender and noodle-like when sliced and baked? This dish tastes just like lasagna, and looks fancier, but it’s easier to prepare and healthier.
Rollatini may look complicated, but it comes together in about 30 minutes. The key is slicing the eggplant thinly and evenly, which produces the best texture and prevents burnt bits. If you have a mandolin, this is a perfect excuse to use it. If you don’t, use a long chef’s knife to slice the strips, keeping in mind that consistency is more important than thinness.
Beef and Eggplant Rollatini
tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons (14 ml) salt, divided
2 medium eggplant
1 lb. (450 g) ground beef
1 (32 oz., 900 g) jar marinara
1 cup (100 g) ricotta
1 cup (100 g) shredded parmesan
1 teaspoon (1 g) ground oregano
1 cup (100 g) low-moisture mozzarella
2 tablespoons (2 g) chopped fresh parsley.
Heat oven to 400°. Slice eggplant ¼" thick lenthwise. Brush slices lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook in a single layer on 2-3 foil-lined baking sheets for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
Cook ground beef in a skillet until completely browned. Remove from heat and stir in marinara.
In a medium bowl, mix egg, ricotta, parmesan, oregano and remaining salt.
Spread a thin layer of beef mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9 pan.
Scoop a few tablespoons of ricotta mix onto an eggplant slice and spread evenly to edge. Top with a thin layer of marinara. Roll up starting at the narrow end, and place seam-side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant and filling, spacing rollatini evenly in baking dish.
Pour remaining beef mixture on top and sprinkle with mozzarella. Cook for 30 minutes, until cheese is browned. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Pro Tip: This recipe also works with Zucchini slices, simply replace eggplant with 3-4 medium zucchini and reduce roasting temp to 350°.