Eggplant Rollatini or “Involtini di Melanzane” are a light summer vegetarian recipe.
There are several recipes for eggplant rollatini. We have chosen a simple version that holds all the traditional flavors and aromas of Mediterranean cuisine.
Eggplant, mozzarella, tomato and basil are classic and fresh ingredients. Ideal for summer dinners with friends but also for a family lunch. The ingredients are almost the same as the famous “Eggplant Parmigiana“.
While the latter is a very hearty and rich dish, so much so that it can be considered a complete dish, these roll-ups of eggplant are light and tender, great as a side dish or appetizer.
These are eggplant rollatini without frying. In fact, we chose to use the oven as the cooking method. With a delicious gratin of Parmigiano cheese and breadcrumbs you make them even crispier!
So let’s see how to make baked eggplant rollatini recipe with tomato, mozzarella and basil.
- Breaded Eggplant Cutlets Recipe
- Eggplant Meatballs – Polpette di Melanzane
- Authentic Sicilian Caponata Recipe
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
How to Make Italian Eggplant Rolls (Rollatini)
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 30 Min
- Servings: 4-6
PLEASE NOTE: These are the servings for 10-12 rollatini. It depends on the size of the eggplant and how big you want to make them. We used a large, round eggplant. If you use smaller, elongated eggplant, cut it lengthwise to make larger slices that are easier for roll-ups.
Step 1) – In a frying pan pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and add the tomato pulp. You can use canned peeled tomatoes. Or use fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and seedless.
Cook for about ten minutes, then add the basil leaves and season with salt. Keep aside.
Step 2) – Meanwhile, wash and dry the eggplant. Remove the stem. Then cut it into very thin slices (about 3-4 millimeters or 1/8 inch thick).
The thickness of the slices is important. The thinner they are, the easier it’s to roll them up to make the rollatini.
Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. With a brush, grease the eggplant slices with extra virgin olive oil. Finally salt lightly.
Step 3) – Bake at 180°C (356°F) for about 15 minutes. After 10 minutes remove from the oven and allow to cool.
This step is very important. It’s a precooking to make the slices softer to roll. It also helps to dry out the vegetable water that can make the eggplant bitter.
Step 4) – Cut the mozzarella into thin slices. If the mozzarella releases a lot of liquid during cutting, let it drain and dry as much as possible. Finally start making the eggplant rolls.
Step 5) – On each eggplant slice place a spoonful of tomato pulp. Then add one or two slices of mozzarella cheese.
Step 6) – Finally roll the eggplant slice on itself to form the roulade. Prepare all the rolls and set aside. Now you need to get the baking dish ready to bake the eggplant roll-ups.
Step 7) – In a baking dish, pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Then add 3-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce and cover the entire bottom. Lastly lay the rolls on top next to each other and sprinkle with plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese.
Step 8) – Add a few basil leaves. Finally, add a drizzle of oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Step 9) – Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (390°F) for about 10 minutes.
Turn on the grill function for the last 2-3 minutes to get a crispy crust on the surface of the rolls.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Before serving the eggplant rollatini, add a few leaves of fresh basil.
How to Store Eggplant Rollatini
Italian Eggplant rolls with tomato and mozzarella cheese can be stored for up to 2 days in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container.
Reheat them in the oven for 5 minutes before serving. Freezing is not recommended.
What kind of tomato to use to make eggplant roll-ups?
In this recipe we recommend using chopped tomato pulp.
This is because the tomato in this recipe is not a condiment. It’s part of the filling of the roll along with the mozzarella cheese. You should feel the tomato pieces in your mouth. And it adds volume to the roll.
You can also use very ripe fresh tomatoes cut into raw pieces. In this case you have an extremely fresh and light taste.
You can use canned pulp or boil ripe tomatoes for 2 minutes. Then remove the skin and cut them into pieces. Finally proceed as shown.
The best tomatoes for this recipe are well-ripened San Marzano tomatoes.
Eggplant Rollatini: Some Filling Variations
Now let’s have a look at some filling variations.
Eggplant Rolls with Caciocavallo
To make more flavorful eggplant rolls, you can replace mozzarella with caciocavallo cheese.
Caciocavallo is a very tasty cheese, used especially in southern Italian regions to flavor many local dishes.
Eggplant Rollatini with Ham
We have shown you a fairly simple and delicate version, which can be a side dish or an appetizer.
But if you also add a slice of ham to the roulade, you will get a richer and more nutritious dish.
Eggplant Rollatini without Tomato
Eggplant rollatini are often made without tomato. That is, “in bianco” (white, as opposed to the red given by the tomato), as we would say in Italy.
The filling varies greatly from region to region. The classic filling consists of ricotta and prosciutto. Or ricotta and spinach.
In Sicily, for example, it’s very common to stuff eggplant roulades with chopped breadcrumbs, anchovies in oil, raisins and pine nuts.
Fried Eggplant Rolls
If you want to make very tasty and appetizing eggplant rolls, you can change the cooking method and fry them.
Fry not only the freshly floured eggplant slices, but also the rolls.
When the eggplant slices are fried, let them cool. Then stuff them with tomato pulp and mozzarella cheese (or other filling of your choice) and roll them up.
Now dip them in beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs. Fry them in plenty of oil in a frying pan or deep fryer.
You can enjoy them as crispy as they are, or lay them on a plate over a tomato sauce.
This is a really tasty version but definitely not a light one. Probably not very suitable for summer, but still worth a try!