Lemon Basil Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Involtini are fantastic for your summer lunches or dinners. Vibrant with Italian flavors of roasted eggplants, fresh ricotta, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, the Involtini are baked on a layer of garlic tomato sauce, with bursting cherry tomatoes. The flavor profile of these Involtini makes them the perfect match for a light and fruity Sangiovese-based wine, such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino, or Chianti Classico. Try them out and let me know what you think!
A few details about the recipe
Involtini loosely translates to “rolls” in Italian. These Involtini are made with eggplants, one of the most versatile summer vegetables. Here, eggplants are sliced into ribbons, roasted in the oven, and rolled up with a tangy lemony, and basil-loaded ricotta cheese filling.
Once shaped, the Involtini are then baked on a bed of garlicky tomato sauce, topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and melted Pecorino Romano. Heaven on earth!
Vibrant and bursting with flavors, it is a perfect dish to use the overload of vegetables that summer offers. The tanginess of tomatoes and lemon is balanced by the creaminess of ricotta, while basil brings everything together.
And..! It is also a great recipe to make when having people over, as you can easily make it in advance and bake it just when your guests arrive. A summer must!
🍷Wine Pairing for Lemon Basil Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Involtini
A light and fruity Sangiovese wine from Tuscany.
WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Tuscany, Italy) Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany, Italy) Chianti Classico (Tuscany, Italy)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make it in advance?
Sure, can! These Involtini can be made the day before (minus the grated Pecorino cheese) and stored in the fridge covered with cling film. The next day, sprinkle grated Pecorino and bake as instructed in the recipe.
How long does this keep?
These Lemon Basil Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Involtini can be kept for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Can these be frozen?
Yes, but I recommend freezing the Involtini only (not the sauce). Freeze the Involtini in a single layer on a tray lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer them to a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to one month.
Lemon Basil Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant Involtini are fantastic for your summer lunches or dinners. Vibrant with Italian flavors of roasted eggplants, fresh ricotta, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, the Involtini are baked on a layer of garlic tomato sauce, with bursting cherry tomatoes. The flavor profile of these Involtini makes them the perfect match for a light and fruity Sangiovese-based wine, such as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino, or Chianti Classico.
For the roasted eggplant slices
2 large eggplants
8 tablespoons (120 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil
For the lemon, basil, and ricotta filling
2 cups (500 g) of ricotta cheese
the zest of 3 lemons
1 and ½ cups (30 g) of basil leaves, thinly chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil
⅛ teaspoon of freshly cracked green pepper
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
For the garlicky tomato sauce
1 can (2 cups / 400 g) of good-quality tomato pulp
3 big cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (50 ml) of water
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
For the toppings
1 cup (100 g) of grated Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
1 and ½ cups (200 g) of cherry tomatoes (feel free to use a mix of varieties and colors)
a handful of fresh basil leaves, to sprinkle on top just before serving
Start by preparing the tomato sauce:
In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil with the crushed garlic cloves.
As soon as the garlic starts becoming fragrant (and not brown), add the tomato pulp, ¼ cup (50 ml) of water, and a pinch of sea salt.
Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes over low flame and stir regularly.
Meanwhile, slice and roast the eggplants:
Preheat the oven to 480°F (250°C).
Wash and cut off the stems and blossoms of the eggplants.
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the eggplants lengthwise, into 0,2 inches (0,5cm) thick slices.
Line the eggplant slices onto a parchment-lined oven tray.
Drizzle the eggplant slices with 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil.
Roast them in the oven until golden (about 15 minutes), then set them aside.
Repeat the process as you will need to make two batches to roast all the eggplant slices.
Prepare the filling:
In a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, lemon zests, thinly chopped basil, extra-virgin olive oil, cracked green pepper, and sea salt.
Stir with a spoon until well combined.
Assemble the Involtini:
Preheat your oven to 390°F (200°C).
In a large baking dish, pour the tomato sauce and spread it evenly.
Then, on each roasted eggplant slice, spoon a tablespoon of the ricotta mix on the thinner edge and roll gently.
Transfer the rolls to the baking dish, on top of the tomato sauce.
Repeat the process until all the slices are stuffed and the baking dish is filled.
Add the cherry tomatoes on top.
Sprinkle the Pecorino cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden and bubbly.
Sprinkle extra fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.