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Family Table

Eggplant roll-ups

(Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe)
November 4, 2009

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Serves 4

A bit like cannelloni but without the pasta, these roll-ups are a stylish vegetarian meal. Cut the eggplant into brick shapes, then make rectangular slices. While they bake, make a quick tomato sauce and a fresh ricotta filling. You can bring it all together in about 10 minutes (and you can also refrigerate the rolled eggplant topped with sauce and bake it later).

Olive oil (for brushing)
2 medium eggplant
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
1 cup fresh ricotta
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan
1 egg
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Extra Parmesan (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. Trim both ends of the eggplant. Square off the rounded sides to make brick-shaped eggplant. Cut each lengthwise into 6 slices. Set them close on the sheets, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the slices are tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook the garlic, stirring often, for 30 seconds or just until it starts to turn a light golden. Add the tomatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in the baking dish.

5. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley.

6. Place 1 tablespoon of filling on each eggplant slice. Spread it evenly on the slices. Starting at the narrow end, roll each into a cylinder. Set the cylinders in two parallel rows, seams down, in the baking dish. Spoon more tomato sauce in a line over the middle of the top of each row, leaving the sides exposed. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

7. Bake for 18 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling at the edges. Sprinkle with more Parmesan. Sally Pasley Vargas