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What Is Eggplant Rollatini?

By Liz Thomas
Updated May 16, 2024
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The dish eggplant rollatini is known as "involtini" in Italy, and is a variation of another popular entree called "braciola." The type of ingredients used will vary from region to region, though the basic recipe remains the same. Breaded slices of eggplant are stuffed with a mixture of cheese and other ingredients to make it. Toothpicks or string are often used to ensure the eggplant stays rolled up, something that can be a challenge for cooks. Typically, this is a dish served with sauce, though choices vary.

Eggplant rollatini is an Italian dish. There are many variations in the traditional recipe, but they all contain slices of eggplant that are cut and then breaded. A mixture of ricotta and other cheeses is spread over the slices. The eggplant pieces are then rolled up, and baked in the oven. Variations of this dish omit the eggplant, instead using chicken, veal, or fish.

In Italy, this dish is known as "involtini di melanzane." The name "rollatini" is used in place of involtini outside of Italy. Rollatini is not actually a word found in the Italian language. Involtini is translated to mean "little bundles".

The ingredients used to stuff the eggplant vary depending on what the cook has available and the recipe. Vegetarian ingredients that can be added include onions, mushrooms, and bread crumbs. Meats that can be added to the cheese include sausage and ham. The type of seasonings used to prepare the recipe should match the ingredients in the cheese mixture or the sauce.

Eggplant rollatini can be served with a range of sauces. Red, white, or butter sauces are all varieties that are typically used. On its own, the small bundles are often served as appetizers. Paired with pasta, it can be served as a main course.

Several tools can be used to ensure that the eggplant rollatini stay rolled up during cooking. Wooden toothpicks can hold the eggplant together. String can also be tied around the eggplant rolls. Some restaurants have even used chives. Instead of removing the chive string before serving, as you would a toothpick or regular string, the chive is simply left on as an attractive garnish.

This dish is a type of Italian cuisine known as cucina povera. While eggplant rollatini is served all over Italy, it is typically served in the region of Puglia, an area known for traditionally simpler fare. Rollatini was originally a recipe made from leftover ingredients.

Eggplant rollatini or involtini is a variation of braciola, a dish in which thin slices of meat are grilled over charcoal. The use of eggplant in place of meat drastically changes the taste of the dish. As with braciola, the preparation of rollatini varies from region to region, and has a number of variations.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jul 10, 2014

Our local Italian restaurant has eggplant rollatini on the menu, and it's one of my favorite dishes. They do it like lasagna, sort of. They roll the eggplant slice and a ricotta filling up into a lasagna noodle and bake it. Then they serve it with melted mozzarella on top and marinara sauce. It's incredible. I never finish all of mine. They give you two huge rolls and I usually stop at one. They're delicious.

This is the first place where I've seen rollatini on the menu, but I'm a big fan. I'm not surprised to find out "rollatini" is not an Italian word. It just sounds a little Italian. I'm sure Italians chuckle at the pseudo-Italian words Americans come up with.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 09, 2014

The involtini I was served at an Italian restaurant was cheese wrapped prosciutto, breaded and fried. Gawd, but it was good! They served it with a side of marinara sauce.

I've asked at other Italian restaurants since, and even though they all agreed it sounded good, none of them had ever heard of the appetizer. Must have been a special of the house at that restaurant. Sadly, I've never been able to replicate the involtini with anything like satisfactory results. It certainly was tasty, though!

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