From Alexandra Stafford — who I hope you comply with, as you can be so impressed, too — I ended up including lemon zest to the filling and ending the dish with lemon juice. I completely like it right here however in case you’re not into lemon, you possibly can skip it. In the event you don’t need make the sauce, you should use 3 cups ready sauce as a substitute. I bake the eggplant in 2 cups, and use the final 1 cup for serving.
To roast: Switch to oven and cook dinner for 10 to 12 minutes on the primary facet, then flip every slice and roast for an additional 8 to 10 on the second, till browned on both sides.
To grill: Grill over strong warmth till darkish marks seem on both sides, about 8 minutes for the primary facet and 5 minutes for the second.
For each strategies: Set eggplant apart to chill. In case your oven isn’t already heated to 425, accomplish that now.
Whereas eggplant cools, make the sauce: Warmth 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 11- to 12-inch pot over medium, add minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch or three of pink pepper flakes, and dried oregano. Cook dinner for one minute. Add tomatoes (it can splatter, watch out) and stir. Cook dinner at a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring sometimes. Whereas it simmers, assemble your eggplant rolls.
When the sauce is finished, style and add extra seasoning, as wanted. In the event you’d prefer it smoother, you possibly can mix to your required consistency. This yields 3 cups sauce. Earlier than assembling, ladle out 1 cup sauce and set it apart for serving. In case your pan you made the sauce in is ovenproof, you’re good to go. If it’s not, switch all however 1 cup reserved sauce to a 2-quart baking dish.
Assemble the involtini: In a bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, lemon zest, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some grinds of black pepper. Place about 1 tablespoon on the finish of every full-sized slice of cooked eggplant, rather less on small ones, utilizing the entire filling, Roll right into a cigar. Place every roll in ready sauce, seam facet down.
Bake: Brush tops of eggplant rolls frivolously with olive oil and bake uncovered roughly half-hour, till bubbly across the edges and browned on prime. Squeeze lemon juice excessive and scatter with basil leaves earlier than serving. Serve scorching, with reserved sauce and extra grated parmesan cheese, if desired, on the facet.
Serve with: Garlic bread, maybe? Or spaghetti, if in case you have children or kids-at-heart.