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Eggplant Rolls With Ricotta

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“Delicious and pretty. An old Gourmet recipe. Depending on the availability of the ingredients, this dish has the potential to be ultraquick, low cal and even vegetarian. In Italy the besciamella (cream sauce) is such a common ingredient that it is available in cartons ready-made and low cal (by Parmalat). Low fat ricotta is available. Precooked spinach is available in the deli department. And I use leftover meatloaf for the ground beef and onions. It is wonderful using SaraFish's Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!). The only thing that takes a bit of time and calories is the preparation of the eggplant, but that may be available for you pregrilled in the deli section. You may have vegetable spray, too, which we don't have here. I made this the other day to great reviews, and the stuffing and assembly took barely five minutes!”
READY IN:
1hr 15mins
SERVES:
6
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Cut the eggplant, trimmed and peeled, lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, arrange in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let them drain for about an hour to eliminate the bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. For the besciamella, melt 1/4 cup butter over moderate heat, stir in the flour, and cook the roux over low heat, stirring, for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the hot milk in a stream and whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the optional 1/2 bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer to thicken to coat a spoon, 5-10 minutes, and discard the bay leaf.
  4. For the stuffing, cook the onion in a small skillet in a bit of butter until softened, add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until it is no longer pink. Stir in the ricotta, spinach, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit of cream to reach the desired consistency -- I've not needed it.
  5. For the assembly and final cooking, heat some of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat, add the eggplant slices in batches, and cook until softened and golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, put about 2 tablespoons of the stuffing on the narrow end of each eggplant slice, roll up and arrange seam-side down in a greased baking dish large enough to hold all the rolls in a single layer. Nap the rolls with the besciamella, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese and bake in the upper third of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until browned and lightly bubbling. Sprinkle the rolls with the minced fresh parsley.

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