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Eggplant Capellini Involtini

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Little rolls of roasted eggplant and tomato-basil capellini topped with melted, smoked mozzarella. Another dish inspired by my favorite Italian restaurant!

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Large (should Be Approximately 1 Pound Each) Eggplants
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • ¾ cups Diced Onion
  • ¾ cups Diced Carrot
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • ½ cups Dry White Wine
  • 1 can (28 0z.) Crushed Tomatoes
  • ¼ cups Packed Fresh Basil Leaves
  • ½ pounds Capellini (angel Hair Pasta)
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 ounces, weight Smoked Mozzarella (or Up To 8 Oz. If You Like Lots Of Cheese)
  • Basil Springs Or Chopped Parsley, For Garnish

Preparation

Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices (you will want at least 12 large slices). Lightly brush each side with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange slices on two baking sheets and bake at 400 F until golden brown in spots (about 30 minutes), switching positions of the baking sheets half-way through. Remove eggplant from oven and let cool slightly, then stack slices together to trap moisture and ensure that they are nice and soft for rolling. (Can be made ahead. If you do this, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.)

Meanwhile heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over high heat, then saute the carrot, onion, and garlic until onion becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce by half, then add the crushed tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until carrots are soft. Remove pot from heat and blend thoroughly using an immersion stick blender. Check seasoning and add sea salt to taste. This should make about 4 cups of sauce. (Can be made ahead. Store covered in refrigerator up to one week.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook capellini according to package directions until al dente.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta with 2 cups of the prepared tomato sauce. Strain and transfer the capellini to the large bowl and mix to thoroughly coat each strand of pasta with the sauce. (Work quickly to mix the sauce in, as capellini tends to clump together soon after being drained from the cooking water.)

Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in a large baking dish, then prepare the involtini. Place a generous 1/2 cup of the capellini mixture on the narrow end of an eggplant slice, then roll up snugly and place the roll, seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining pasta and eggplant slices.

Layer thin slices of smoked mozzarella over the top of the involtini. (Can be made ahead. Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and store refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Bake at 400 F for just a few minutes until involtini have heated through and the smoked mozzarella has become browned and bubbly. For each serving, spoon some of the remaining warm tomato sauce on a plate or shallow bowl and place 3 rolls on top. Sprinkle with a little minced fresh parsley or basil for some pretty color!

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