- 1 large or 2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (pre-sweated w/ salt 20 min)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup seasoned panko or bread crumbs ( can season with Italian herbs, garlic powder, salt/pepper)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage, pork, or ground beef
- 1 cup goat cheese (or ricotta for a less sharp taste)
- 1 bag fresh spinach steamed down, chopped (or 10 oz froz/chopped spinach, well drained)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 c Italian tomato sauce (home made if possible)
- 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 c Italian blend cheese (ie: Romano,Parmesan)
- 1/2 lb pasta- (choose linguine, spaghetti, or angel hair type pasta)
What to do with the Stuff:
- Brown the sausage, add onion, garlic, salt pepper, cook until done
- Add the goat cheese, and spinach to meat mixture, mix well, set aside
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
- Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then coat with panko or bread crumbs.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Fry the eggplant on each side until golden brown.
- Remove to a paper towel lined rack to drain excess oil
- Spread a thin layer of sausage, spinach, cheese mixture onto each slice of eggplant
- Roll up tightly, and place seam side down in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Spoon tomato sauce over the rolls, and top with shredded cheeses.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned
- While the eggplant rolls are baking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta, and cook as directed, drain
- Serve eggplant rolls and sauce over pasta
Some helpful notes :
“Sweating the Eggplant”– once all slices are done, line on paper towel, and lightly salt, let set for 20- 30 min
This gets rid of any potential “bitterness” that some say eggplants have
Homemade fresh tomato sauce– This is an essential in my kitchen. I am always whipping some up for many different things. For this batch, I used 6 diced Roma tomatoes, 1 small red onion, 4 cloves garlic, salt, pepper, Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley), and threw them all in the food processor, whirred them up, then simmered, and flavored accordingly. On occasions, I will throw in some roasted red peppers in the processor. I have also added some excellent flavor by sauteing some anchovies in olive oil, then add the mix to that.. really added some nice some depth.
The filling of your choice- Don’t be afraid to experiment and play with this part.GET CREATIVE 😉 Last time I did this, and added some sun dried tomatoes, added an entirely different, sweeter flavor. I also did a batch with Feta cheese, and Kalamata olive puree, that was delish too. Another time I used this mixture listed above, and added marinated artichoke hearts. It will be SO good, no matter what.
HAVE FUN finding the inner Culinary God / Goddess within yourself 😉