Feed a crowd with ease using this classic Italian comfort food bake.
Recipe: Eggplant Involtini
3 large eggplant
5 tbsp olive oil
2 500g bags strozzapreti pasta (I use Mamma Isa)
2 cups grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
for the tomato sugo
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 jars tomato passata (I use Mutti)
1 can tinned tomatoes
handful basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices half a centimetre thick. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with olive oil. Place eggplant slices on the baking sheets, without overlapping. Make sure both sides are coated with olive oil. Add more as needed. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the slices halfway. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a deep skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil. Saute onions for 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomato passata and can of tomatoes. Pour about 1 cup water in a jar and swirl around to gather excess sauce, then add to the pan. Roughly tear up the basil leaves and add to the pan, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Let simmer for 3 hours
In a large pot of generously salted water, boil pasta until just slightly undercooked. Drain, transfer to a bowl and toss with 3 to 4 cups of the prepared tomato sugo. Stir in a cup of the parmigiano or pecorino.
Preheat oven to 190C. To assemble, prepare a rectangular baking dish by coating the bottom with a ladle full of tomato sauce. Place a slice of eggplant on your work surface. Place a forkful (about ¼ cup) of cooked pasta in the centre of the eggplant. Roll the eggplant around
Place seam-side-down on the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices. Pour 2 more cups of sugo evenly over the involtini, then add a handful of cheese over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes on 190C degrees until heated through and the cheese has melted and browned. Serve hot.
This article first appeared in the May 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.
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