Monday, December 5, 2011
Spinach-stuffed Eggplant Rollatini
A little sad that the best picture I could get of this was on my 2 year-olds plate - I should have taken some pictures before they baked - but the consolation to that is that she liked it so much she ate it all!
I originally was going to make this dish with chicken, but after finding some lovely-looking eggplant on sale, I decided to go the vegetarian route instead. Luckily that turned out to be a good choice! And after searching for some inspiration for the filling, I decided to come up with my own based on what I had on hand. The final product was fabulous! I think the eggplant was a perfect "wrapper" (but honestly, when is fried eggplant not good?), and the filling was creamy and cheesy and it all worked together perfectly. I really like cooking with eggplant, so I'm glad to have another option (especially a meatless one) to add to the rotation!
1 eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (I had 8 total slices)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Canola oil, for frying
1 (8 ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
*Optional step, to reduce the possibility of bitterness: Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to "sweat" - you'll see beads of moisture appear on the slices. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Fry the eggplant on each side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, spinach, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well.
4. Spread a few tablespoons of the spinach mixture onto each slice of eggplant. Roll up tightly, and place seam-side down in a 2 qt. baking dish. Pour spaghetti sauce over the rolls, and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.
5. While the eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the angel hair pasta and cook about 4 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
6. Serve eggplant rolls and sauce over the pasta.