I’ve always loved my Italian heritage. To me, it means strong values rooted in both family and food and those are traditions The Hubs and I are passing to our own kidlets! Ragú® recently challenged bloggers to put their own spin on one of their classic dishes to create, what they call, a #NewTraDish for their families. I decided to take on their Eggplant Parmesan recipe and gave it a healthier twist by not frying or breading the eggplant.
My Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups are super easy for either a kitchen vet or newbie chef to create! Using Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, which is made with 11 ripe juicy tomatoes making it richest, thickest recipe*, means you won’t need to slave over the stove all day to create a flavorful sauce. You can put this entire meal together in about an hour – so it’s the perfect weeknight recipe to make and enjoy.
I think the most difficult part of this recipe is slicing the eggplant. You want to slice them lengthwise about ¾ of an inch thick since they’ll shrivel up a bit when you bake them. I recommend using a mandolin slicer to cut the eggplant. The advantage of using a mandolin is that the eggplant slices will be uniform in thickness, which not only looks great in your food presentation, but it is also important when you are pre-baking the slices in the oven, so they all cook evenly.
Here’s my tip on getting rid of the sogginess and bitterness sometimes associated with eggplant – salt it before cooking it. I lay all my slices out on cookie cooling racks, salt them generously and let them sit for 15 minutes to a half hour, depending upon how much time I have. Within minutes you’ll see tiny beads of moisture starting to form on the surface of the eggplant. See, the salt helps to draw out the bitter liquid from the eggplant while at the same time seasons the eggplant from the inside out. Right before I’m ready to use my eggplant, I take a paper towel and dab/wipe off the excess liquid.
To cut down on the carbs in this dish, I bake the eggplant instead of breading it. Pre-baking the eggplant gives it an incredible sweetness, adding another layer of flavor to the dish. Another twist I added was that instead of alternately layering the eggplant, sauce and cheese, I created a cheesy filling and rolled it up inside the eggplant slices. Here’s how I did it:
Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups
Prep Time: 30-35 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
1 jar Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce container of ricotta (I used Part Skim)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups grated mozzarella (I used Part Skim)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
- Heat oven to 425°
- Place eggplant slices in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Baste each piece of eggplant with olive oil and season with salt & pepper
- Bake the eggplant, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through, until soft and beginning to brown, about 10-15 minutes
- Remove eggplant and let cool and turn oven down to 400°
- In a large bowl mix together the eggs, ricotta, 1 cup of the grated mozzarella, oregano along with salt & pepper to taste
- Take a large rectangular baking dish and spread out about half the jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
- Once the eggplant has cooled enough to handle, place about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in a line, lengthwise, along the center of the eggplant
- Starting at the smaller end, roll up the eggplant, and then transfer it to the baking dish
- Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant slices and ricotta mixture
- Top the eggplant parm roll-ups with the remaining Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce and sprinkle the top with the grated Parmesan and the remaining shredded mozzarella cheeses
- Place dish in oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving
Are you looking for a great idea for dinner? A meal that won’t take forever to make but doesn’t skimp on flavor? Then you should head over to Ragú’s Facebook page for easy and delicious authentic Italian recipe ideas. Make sure you also enter the Ragú Better & Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes including a grand prize trip to Italy for a family of four! You can also connect with Ragú on Twitter and Pinterest.
Now it’s your turn to share. What is your New Tra-Dish? Do you have any special dinner traditions?
*versus Ragú’s previous OWS formula
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was not compensated for this post, but was provided with free product by ModernMom and Ragú®. As always though, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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