alumiere (alumiere) wrote,

easy delicious dinner

so the garden is still producing copious amounts of zuccini/zuccini squash (we have both, can't really tell them apart as they get soooo huge), japanese eggplant, and tomatoes

yesterday i picked 2 more eggplants (small) and we still had a huge zuccini in the fridge - but t and i are both bored with sauteeing them or using them in lasagna or as a base for "pizza"

so i decided to try one of the dishes i love from the italian place near our dc office - they called it eggplant rolatini - basically eggplant, proscuitto and cheeses rolled together, then breaded and deep fried and smothered in marinara

my version follows (you could easily skip the proscuitto and swap the cheeses to make this veg or vegan)...

ingredients list:

2 large zuccini/zuccini squash/japanese or regular eggplant (basically the total amount i had equalled what i'd get out of 2 regular eggplants from market)
1 1/4 lb package citterio proscuitto
1/4 c garlic parmesean cheese spread
1/4 lb sliced provolone cheese
2 tbsp shredded asiago cheese
1 c fresh tomato sauce

for the japanese eggplant i washed them and thinly sliced them (about 1/4" wide) lengthwise after removing a layer of skin on the side i'd be cutting from - so basically i've got strips of "meat" with a bit of skin on the edges; for the zuccini i treated it the same after quartering it except that i stopped at the seeds (because these are so large about 2/3 of the way into each section they become so dense with seeds it's not tasty; with smaller zuccini this isn't necessary)

then i dry sauteed the strips til slightly brown and pliable (3-5 mins on medium heat - i do this in a 10" non-stick skillet - it pulls out much of the excess moisture that can make zuccini and/or eggplant dishes runny)

and rolled them around slices of proscuitto with 1/2 tbsp garlic cream cheese and layed them on a bed of fresh tomato sauce (see below) in a shallow baking pan that had been lightly oiled

top each roll with sliced provolone and a bit of shredded asiago cheese

bake uncovered at 275* for about 15 mins (or 1 clove cigarette) - when the cheeses have all melted together and the zuccini/eggplant is tender you're done

i'd say this serves 4 for a main course or as appetizers for 8-10

fresh tomato sauce

(base recipie - i can and do add other fresh spices, shallots, capers, olives, artichoke hearts, etc depending on my mood and what's on hand)

in a fairly deep lidded sautee pan sautee about 2 cups of fresh tomatoes chopped into 1/4" chunks in the following:

2-4 tbsp of olive oil and/or butter
2 tbsp of pesto
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
handful of fresh chives chopped finely

get the spices and oil/butter started first on medium heat until they start to brown lightly, turn down heat slightly and add the tomatoes, cover and toss thoroughly in the spices then let cook roughly 6-8 minutes (tossing once or twice) until it becomes a chunky sauce

this yields between 1 1/2 - 2 cups of sauce; it can be refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for 3-5 days (i'm not sure about freezing it but that may work - lmk if you've tried this with fresh sauce and how it kept)

**note on the veggies - i use whatever we have in the garden first when i'm cooking; if you're going to market or the store the choice of eggplant or zuccini or the type of tomato isn't important - it's the freshness that matters

for tomatoes the color is irrelevant to taste - you want them to be firm, smell like a tomato, and not be "mealy" - i use a mix - we've got yellow, heirloom (which ripen to shades of green w/ red at the top usually), roma, cherry and what i'd call miniature regular tomatoes in our garden; all of them make good sauce, althouh i'm not as fond of our romas as those i get at whole foods or market

as these are from the garden i'll sometimes need a few more tomatoes than are truly ripe so i'll pick the slightly underripe ones that smell good and use those anyway, although if you're doing that you'll want to add these about a minute before the ripest tomatoes
Tags: cooking, recipe

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