Sicilian Eggplant and Zucchini Rollatini

(5 votes)

1 large eggplant, unpeeled
1 large zucchini
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For Stuffing:
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs
5 tablespoons chopped pine nuts
3 tablespoons dried currants
1 1/2 ounces caciotta or provolone cheese, rind removed and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons quick tomato sauce
1 extra-large egg white, lightly beaten
salt and ground white pepper
For Topping:
1 cup quick tomato sauce
3 ounces caciotta or provolone cheese, rind removed and cut into 8 thin slices
Quick Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower or canola oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
minced garlic, optional
minced fresh or dried herbs, optional
6 cups peeled, seeded, chopped and well-drained plum (roma) tomatoes (fresh or canned)

Preheat a broiler (grill). Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 8 slices each 1/4 inch thick. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 8 slices each 1/8 inch thick. Using about 1/4 teaspoon of the olive oil for each side, lightly brush both sides of each eggplant and zucchini slice.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a rack in a broiler pan and broil (grill) until barely cooked on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the slices over and broil until lightly golden, 4-5 minutes longer. Remove from the broiler, transfer to a plate and let cool.

Arrange the zucchini slices on the rack in the broiler pan and broil until barely cooked on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the zucchini slices over and broil until just tender, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove the slices from the broiler, transfer to a plate and let cool.

Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly brush the remaining olive oil over the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square nonmetal baking dish.

FOR STUFFING: In a bowl, stir together all the stuffing ingredients, including salt and white pepper to taste, until blended.

TO ASSEMBLE: In a clean work surface, lay 1 eggplant slice and place 1 zucchini slice on top of it. Using your fingertips, gently shape 2-3 tablespoons of the stuffing into a log and place in the center of the zucchini slice. Fold both ends of the eggplant and zucchini over the stuffing to cover fully, overlapping the ends. Place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining slices and stuffing.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the center of the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until heated through, 20-25 minutes.

Spoon the tomato sauce evenly over the rolls and re-cover the dish. Bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Divide the cheese slices evenly among the rollatini, placing them over the center of each roll. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese melts, 6-8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes. To serve, transfer 2 rolls to each warmed individual plate and serve immediately.

Quick Tomato Sauce:
In a saucepan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4-5 minutes; do not allow to brown. Add garlic and herbs to taste (or as directed in individual recipes) and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the juices have evaporated, 30-35 minutes for canned tomatoes and 40-45 minutes for fresh tomatoes.

Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Use immediately, or let cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Serves 4

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