I’ve seen rollatini in the deli case at my super-grocery store, but I’ve never had it, much less made it for myself. When I found a recipe for fried-then-rolled eggplant in Veganomicon, I figured it was worth a try. Eggplant is one of those divisive foods in my house: I love it, he doesn’t. But once it’s been breaded and stuffed, it’s okay, right? Right. This was a definitive success.
Excuse my awful flash photo here. I was halfway through rolling my ‘tini and decided I should capture the moment. Why? It was easier than I thought it would be. First, I sliced the eggplant, then breaded it and baked it. Finally, I filled the slightly-cooled eggplant cutlets with baby spinach and tofu ricotta and threw in a few pine nuts for good measure. Get it? Two steps, first and finally. Each one rolled perfectly and held my generous dollops of seasoned, crumbled, ricotta-style tofu.
Top these beauties with tomato sauce and bake again until the filling is cooked. Finish with some Almesan – a grind of almonds and sesame seeds that’s a good substitute for Parmesan. For me, the Almesan was a nice, nutty touch that was one of those rare foods with a smell distinctly different from its taste. The smell of this was like a delicious nutty cookie, but it had a savory flavor that was indeed good in place of Parmesan. I served the rollatini with some brown rice rotini and a side of sautéed mushrooms.