eggplant involtini

Involtini di melanzane. That's the complete Italian name—involtini are little rolls. We are big fans of America's Test Kitchen, so bob pays attention whenever he sees one of their special topic magazines at Costco, plus there is the big box discount. Like Everyday Vegetarian (2016)—irresistable to a fan who wants more vegetarian offerings in his daily consumption. These guys at Chris Kimball's place are people who can be trusted to deliver. This recipe was one of the quick scan hooks that sold the product. We bring it home and make this multiple times. That is, chef Ani makes it multiple times, with bob as the sous chef sometimes. This has great flavor and satisfies our high expectations for eggplant dishes, which are among our favorite category of veggie dishes.

We used a 2 lb Costco bag of 4 small-to-medium eggplants that seemed to do the job even if a bit short of the 3 lbs requested. The lengthwise cut is suggested to be 1/2 inch thick but we aimed at 3/8 inch. It shrinks a lot in this dimension when baked, down by half roughly, and they go pretty limp so rolling them up is easy. bob initially thought of doing the slicing with his Magic Knife with thickness guard bought on the street in Munich three and a half decades earlier, but then the Santoko knife proved more appropriate. We have a fancy mandoline, but usually it is more trouble than it's worth, plus some veggies are just too hard.


2 large eggplants (3 lbs) [we used 4 medium = 2 lbs]
   peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 in thick planks (about 12) [see did 3/8 in thick]
6 T vegetable oil
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes,
    drained with juice reserved, chopped course [we used San Marzano]
1 slice hearty white bread, torn into 1 in pieces [we used 1/2 c bread crumbs]
8 oz = 1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 oz = 3/4 c grated Pecorino Romano cheese
5 T chopped fresh basil
1 T lemon juice 


  1. Heat oven to 375°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with veggie oil.
  2. Prepare eggplants and arrange in a single layer on the cookie sheets. Brush one side with 2.5 T olive oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Flip the slices and repeat on the other side. Bake 30–35 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Switch upper and lower sheets halfway. Let cool 5 minutes and then flip with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile heat 1 T oil over medium heat and add the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 t salt and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and reserved juice, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Pulse the bread 10-15 pulses in a food processor until finely ground, or use commercial  breadcrumbs. Combine with the ricotta, 1/2 c Pecorino, 1/4 c basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 t salt in a bowl.
  6. With the wide side of each eggplant slice towards you, spoon about 3 T of the cheese mixture at the wide end and roll it up away from you. Arrange them equally spaced in a 9x12 in baking dish with some tomato sauce spread out on the bottom, then distribute the rest of the sauce over the involtini.
  7. Bake 10 minutes until the cheese is heated through.
  8. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 c Pecorinoand 1 T basil.


  1.  Everyday Vegetarian, America's Test Kitchen special magazine.
  2. A nice serving idea we learned from the vegan-vegetarian friendly menu at the Philly restaurant Farmicia is to serve this dish on a bed of sauteed power greens with a can of cannellini beans thrown into the mix. See the illustration.
  3. Illustrations available.
eggplantinvoltini.htm: 1-apr-2017 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]