Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Melanzane Rotoli

     Classic Italian Red Sauce Food!
     Melanzane Rotoli is a nice hearty entrée for a chilly day.  The same Tre Formaggi mixture that is used to make Manicotti or Baked Ziti is used to make Melanzane Rotoli.  This classic Italian cheese mixture is very filling and it provides warmth throughout a long chilly day.
     The word Rotoli translates to "Rolls or Scrolls."  Long thin slices of egg batter fried eggplant are stuffed with Tre Formaggi and rolled into a short plump cylinder shape.  The Eggplant Rotoli are placed side by side on a baking pan, then topped with Italian Tomato Sauce and cheese.  After baking, the aroma of Melanzane Rotoli is simply irresistible!
     Salsa di Pomodoro Recipe:  
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Salsa di Pomodoro 
     Tre Formaggi: 
     This recipe yields about 2 3/4 cups of Italian 3 Cheese Mix.  (Enough for 6 to 8 Eggplant Rotoli.)  
     Never add salt and pepper to an Italian 3 Cheese Mixture or the sweet fresh flavor of the Ricotta will be overwhelmed.  Salt will also change the texture of the fresh ricotta cheese curds.            
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese.
     Add 1/2 cup of fine grated Parmigiana Cheese.
     Add 1 raw large egg.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced basil.  (optional)
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Step 2:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Refrigerate the Italian 3 cheese Mix till it is 41ºF, so the texture becomes stiff.

     Egg Batter Pan Fried Eggplant:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 entrée size portion of Melanzane Rotoli.  (3 or 4 pan fried eggplant slices.)
     Some of the eggplant slices will be too small to use for Rotoli, but the small slices can be used in other recipes.  A medium size eggplant will yield 4 to 6 usable slices.    
     Step 1:  Peel 1 medium size eggplant with a knife.
     Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3/16" thick slices.  (About 3 or 4 slices are needed.  The wide end of each slice should be 3" to 4" wide. )
     Step 2:  Place the eggplant slices side by side on a sheet pan.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of sea salt on both sides of each eggplant slice.
     *The salt will cause the eggplant to sweat out excess moisture.  The salt will also rid of some of the bitter flavor, while preserving the pale yellow color of the eggplant!
     Let the eggplant slices sweat for 20 minutes.
     Step 3:  Rinse each eggplant slice under cold running water.
     Pat the eggplant slices dry with a lint free pastry towel.
     Step 4:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Dredge each eggplant slice in flour.
     Place the floured eggplant slices in the egg wash and set the bowl aside.
     Step 6:  Heat a wide sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium/medium high heat.
     Add enough blended olive oil, so the oil is about 1/2" deep in the pan.
     Adjust the temperature of the oil to 360ºF.
     Step 7:  Pull 1 slice of eggplant out of the egg wash and knock off any excess egg wash by dragging each eggplant slice against the rim of the mixing bowl.
     Place the egg batter coated eggplant slice in the hot oil.
     Pan fry a few egg washed eggplant slices at a time, till they are a light golden brown color on both sides.  (Use tongs to turn the eggplant slices over.  Try to only flip each slice one time.)
     Step 8:  Place the fried slices of eggplant on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the fried eggplant slices warm on a stove top.
     Melanzane Rotoli:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  (3 to 4 Eggplant Rotoli)
     Step 1:  Place 3 or 4 of the fried eggplant slices side by side on a cutting board.
     Place about 2 to 3 ounces of the Tre Formaggi on the wide end of each eggplant slice.  (About 1/4 cup.)
     Gently roll each eggplant slice into a plump cheese stuffed cylinder shape.
     Step 2:  Spread about 1/3 cup of the Salsa di Pomodoro on a small baking pan.  (A pie tin is good for 1 entrée portion.)
     Place 3 Eggplant Rotoli on top of the sauce in a row.
     Spoon about 1/2 cup of Salsa di Pomodoro over the Eggplant Rotoli, but try not to let the sauce make contact with the cheese stuffing.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese stuffing is hot.  (About 8 minutes.  A probe thermometer should read 150ºF to 165ºF.)
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of grated Parmigiana Cheese over the Eggplant Rotoli.
     Sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of grated Mozzarella Cheese over the Rotoli.
     Step 5:  Return the Eggplant Rotoli pan to the 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese softens and melts.  (Do not brown the cheese!)
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Use a large spatula to place each Melanzane Rotoli on a plate.
     Spoon a little bit of Salsa di Pomodoro on the plate around the Melanzane Rotoli.
     Serve with Italian Bread or Garlic Bread on the side.
     The aroma and taste of Melanzane Rotoli is very appealing!

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