Inside-Out Eggplant Parmesan Rolls
- For Eggplant Rolls:
- 2 slices large rustic (not bagged sliced) white or whole-wheat bread, crusts discarded and bread cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds large eggplant
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Fresh basil, to garnish
- For Speedy Marinara Sauce:
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Hefty pinch red pepper flakes
- 28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
- Kosher salt
- (or 2 1/2 cups purchased sauce)
Adapted from durangoherald.com
To Make Eggplant Rolls:
Heat the oven to 400 F and adjust the oven racks so there is one in the top third and one in the bottom third of the oven.
In a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with the oil and a pinch of salt. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the cubes in an even layer and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them back to the bowl.
While the cubes are baking, prepare the eggplant. Leaving the skin on, slice it top-to-bottom into ¼-inch-thick slices, discarding the end pieces that are mostly skin.
Spray the baking sheet you used for the bread as well as a second large baking sheet with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle the eggplant slices very lightly with salt on both sides and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Spray them lightly with additional olive oil spray. Bake just until barely golden, 16 to 20 minutes, switching the sheet pan positions in the oven after 8 minutes.
Add the red pepper, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic to the bread cubes and toss well.
Pour half of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking pan. Set aside.
Arrange the eggplant slices on a kitchen surface, overlapping a few if they are small to make a wider rectangle (you will need 12 portions total), and divide the filling among the portions, mounding it in the center of each slice. Roll up the slices to enclose the filling. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the rolls between 6 serving plates, making sure that each portion has ample sauce. Top with fresh basil.
To Make Speedy Marinara Sauce:
In a medium skillet, combine the garlic and the oil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, turning over the garlic several times, until it is just golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt, bring to a boil, and cook at a brisk simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to about 2½ cups.