Involtini is an Italian culinary term for a small bit of food consisting of an outer layer wrapped around a filling.
This Nigella Lawson recipe for eggplant involtini wrapped around a flavorful feta cheese filling appeared on the New York Times food page this week.
The incorporation of plump raisins, lemon zest and pine nuts in the savory filling for these eggplant rolls caught my eye. (I’m going through a pine nut phase. Go figure.) As it turned out, the combination was wonderful and the dish is beautiful both going into and coming out of your oven.
The original recipe from which this recipe is adapted appears at the end of this post.
2 eggplants (trimmed and cut lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick–about 16 slices)
3/4 C. olive oil
8 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
1/2 C. pine nuts
1/3 C. raisins (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes until plump, then drained)
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. bread crumbs
1 garlic clove (peeled and minced)
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1 t. dried mint
2 T. chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 large egg (beaten)
Freshly-ground black pepper
2 C. drained canned crushed tomatoes
10 ounces fresh mozzarella in 1/4 inch slices
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Generously brush eggplant slices (on both sides) with olive oil. Cook eggplant slices in a ridged cast-iron skillet until they are soft and show the char of the pan’s grill pattern. Drain grilled eggplant slices on paper towels and cool.
Combine feta cheese, pine nuts, raisins, olive oil, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, lemon zest, dried mint and Italian parsley leaves in a large bowl. Add freshly-ground black pepper to taste. Beat a large egg and add it to the cheese mixture.
Spread one end of each eggplant slice with a generous tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Roll slices and arrange eggplant rolls in a 9 -by-13-inch baking dish.
Pour crushed tomatoes over the eggplant rolls. Top with mozzarella slices and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake (uncovered) for 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. . The sauce over the eggplant rolls should be bubbling and the cheese slices should have melted when the dish is ready. Remove from oven and let dish cool for 5-10 minutes.
Here is the link to the original recipe from which this recipe was adapted: