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Stuffed Eggplant Bundles

Involtini di Melazane

SERVES 4 TO 6

Involtini are neat bundles of stuffed meat, fish, or vegetables. The fillings can be as varied as the cook's imagination. Eggplant works especially well as involtini, and grilling the eggplant first imparts a wonderful roasted flavor. If dried tomatoes in olive oil are not at hand, substitute thinly sliced fresh tomatoes.

Ingredients

1 firm eggplant (1 1/4 pounds), about 8 inches long

About 3 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Fine sea salt to taste

1/4 cup minced fresh mint or basil

2/3 cup chopped dried tomatoes in olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler. Trim off the ends of the eggplant, and stand the eggplant on end. With a sharp knife, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. You should have 10 to 12 slices.

Grill or broil the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a dish and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a baking dish. Lay the eggplant slices on a work surface and brush each slice with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Sprinkle the mint or basil, tomatoes, and cheese evenly over the slices. Starting from a narrow end, roll each slice up like a jelly roll, and place the bundles seam side down in the baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with pepper.

Cover the dish with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the rolls are heated through. Serve immediately.

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