Eggplant Involtini with Maccaruna
This iconic dish is made with three key ingredients in Sicilian cooking: eggplant, ricotta salata and maccaruna pasta.
Servings 4 servings
For the eggplant:
- 1 large eggplant (2 lbs or 900 grams)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
For the tomato sauce:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 796 ml jar tomato passata (tomato purée)
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- handful basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated ricotta salata (or grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese)
For the eggplant:
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 0.5 centimeter slices. Place eggplant in a large bowl, salt each layer and cover with water. Weigh down with a plate or lid and set aside for 1 hour.
After an hour, drain and rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with olive oil.
Place eggplant slices on the baking sheets without overlapping. Make sure both sides are coated with olive oil. Add more as needed. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the slices halfway. Set aside to cool slightly.
Prepare the tomato sauce:
In a deep skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil. Sauté onions for 3 minutes, add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomato passata. Pour about 1 cup water in the jar and swirl around to gather excess sauce in jar. Add to the pan.
Add red pepper flakes (optional), basil leaves roughly torn and salt and pepper to taste.
Let simmer for 30 minutes
For the pasta:
In a large pot of generously salted water, boil maccaruna or spaghetti until just slightly under cooked. Drain, transfer to a bowl and toss with half of the prepared tomato sauce. Stir in parmigiano, pecorino or ricotta salata.
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a rectangular baking dish by coating the bottom with a ladle full of tomato sauce.
Place a slice of eggplant on your work surface. Place a forkful (about 1/4 cup) of cooked pasta in the centre of the eggplant. Roll the eggplant around the pasta.
Place seam side down on the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the involtini. Grate ricotta salata on each eggplant involtini.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through and the cheese has melted. Serve hot.
- Serve 1 or 2 involtini per person if serving as a primo piatto (entrée); 3 per person as a piatto principale (main dish)
- Here are several suggestions for breaking down the process into simple steps:
- make your maccaruna ahead of time and freeze them;
- prepare your sauce a day ahead;
- roast your eggplant a day ahead;
- assemble and bake on the day of serving;
- or assemble the day before and bake on the day of serving.
- If you don't have ricotta salata, substitute with grated pecorino or parmigiano cheese.
- Please note that the nutritional information provided may vary according to exact portion size and ingredients used.
Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 0.5mg