A palate-pleasing pasta, the Eggplant Rollatina at Café Baci earned plenty more fans at Forks & Corks 2016.
This dish is one of restaurateur Roberto Mei’s signatures at the 1991-founded Sarasota restaurant, with its hearty Italian cheese blend and extra-fresh ingredients.
“The Eggplant Rollatina is a baked pasta and, like in many baked pastas, there is a complexity of textures and flavors,” Mei says. “It is remarkably light, and the combination of the three cheeses with the tomato sauce is a perfect marriage of flavors. The visual appeal is another reason people love it.
2 large eggplant ends cut off, peeled and sliced into 12 ¼-inch-thick pieces
1½ pounds ricotta cheese
1 cup tightly packed spinach (boiled, drained and chopped)
½ cup grated Parmigiana cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Flour for dredging
1 cup corn oil
6 whole eggs
12 ounces tomato sauce
Liberally salt the 12 eggplant slices and put them in a colander with a weight on them to drain. Mix the ricotta, 2 eggs, nutmeg, oregano, mozzarella, spinach, salt and pepper. Put the remaining eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper, and beat. Heat the oil. Dry the eggplant with paper towels, dredge them in flour, dip them in the egg and fry them in the oil. Pat the excess oil with a paper towel. Fill the center of the eggplant with the ricotta mixture (approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons) and roll tight. The rolls should not be more than 1 inch around. Layer the eggplant rolls in a baking dish, lightly cover with the tomato sauce, sprinkle on the Parmigiana cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Café Baci | 4001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota | 941-921-4848 | cafebacisarasota.com
Author: Abby Weingarten
Photo Courtesy of www.dinesarasota.com