This dish feels so luxurious it deserves a place at the table for any special occasion. It is unlike other recipes in that the eggplant is simply dredged in flour and then dipped in egg – it is made without any breading, the way it would be prepared in Italy. The filling is nothing more than a dollop of good quality of ricotta. I promise you’ll want to make this recipe again and again.
What makes this dish feel so rich is how delicate the eggplant tastes after it is fried. We’ll slice it as thin as we can to fry it, and then bake it so the flavors really meld together in the oven. The ricotta should be drained to expel any excess water so that it it almost has the thick and creamy consistency. Topped simply with fresh tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese, this dish is sure to impress. This can be served as hot antipasta or main course. If served as a main course, pair it with a simple pasta dish of penne with tomato suace.
- 1 jar tomato sauce
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten well
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese – drained
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided
- canola oil for frying (1 inch deep in a skillet)
- additional salt for eggplant
- fresh chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Empty out the container of ricotta into the strainer to drain on the counter for 30-45 minutes. If available, try to use fresh, local ricotta cheese – this is found in most supermarkets.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Fill about 1 inch deep with canola oil.
- Prepare your fresh tomato sauce, or heat through a jar of store made. Keep the sauce simmering as you prepare the eggplant.
- In a shallow baking dish, add flour, salt and pepper. Use a fork to gently combine ingredients. In a separate shallow baking dish, crack and beat the three eggs so that they are uniformly combined.
- Peel the eggplant and slice lengthwise into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick.
- To check the oil is ready for frying, you can check that the temperature of the oil is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you’ll know it is ready if you flick a bit of water into the oil and it sizzles.
- Dredge a slice of eggplant first in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then in the beaten eggs. Fry a few slices at a time (don’t crowd the pan!) until golden on both sides. (2-3 minutes per side. Remove slices and drain on a paper towel, and immediately sprinkle with salt.
- Once all the eggplant is fried and cool enough to handle, prepare your baking dish. Ladle about a cup of tomato sauce into the baking dish – just enough to coat the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle two tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top.
- Lay a slice of eggplant on a cutting board, and spoon about two tablespoons (or one heaping soup spoonful) of ricotta onto the edge of the eggplant closet to you. Roll the ricotta into a rollatini, and place seamside down in a baking dish. Repeat with all of the eggplant until the dish is full.
- Top with about a cup of tomato sauce and the remaining parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top of the dish.