Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick-Fix Gluten Free: Spinach and ricotta cheese eggplant roulades


Today I wrote a review on this very pretty cookbook, Quick-Fix Gluten Free, by chef Robert M. Landolphi. But for my blog, this is where I put the book into practice. My sister was coming over for dinner, and being that I have been in a slump lately on my dinner repertoire, I decided to open the book to a random page, and that is what I would make. And I choose Spinach and ricotta cheese eggplant roulades, from the Tasty Comforts section of the book. First choice, and it had all the parts that I liked...vegetarian, eggplant and cheese...how can it go wrong?

The ingredients were pretty simple...but I am going to be honest here, it was very labor intensive. Preparation is something that must be planned ahead of time. Baking time is listed as 35-40 minutes, but I would give yourself a good 2 hours. This recipe reminded me of my eggplant parmesan, but a bit less fried and a bit more healthy. But a whole lot to clean up afterwards.

I am not going to reprint the recipe, but I will give you the gist....I made my own marinara..so right there, I probably added some time - maybe 10 minutes, but I just love the taste of my sauce compared to a jar. You then make the cheese mixture with spinach, egg and cheeses. You slice the eggplant, flour and lightly fry it. Once the eggplant slices are done, you place the cheese mixture inside and roll it up, place it in a baking dish lined with a light layer of sauce and top with more sauce. Bake and viola...pure fabulousness!!

Now, unfortunately, my daughter got a hold of my camera after my mini photo shoot in the kitchen and deleted my photo of the finished product. D'oh! But you can get the idea with the above picture, of how much it makes and how it can be placed in a 9 x13 baking dish. Now, just imagine it topped with red sauce, mozzarella cheese and a light covering of gluten-free bread crumbs.

This dinner was a huge hit with my family+sister. We all had seconds and would of had thirds if we had any room to put it. I will definitely make this again. It also makes me excited to try more recipes in the cookbook. I definitely want to hit the "International Flavors" section next!

I love how it uses eggplant instead of pasta, and next time, I may layer the eggplant rather than roll it, just to save some time. I may also leave out the sprinkling of gluten-free bread crumbs that it calls for on top. I don't think it was really needed, plus gluten-free bread crumbs, if you buy them, are not cheap, so that will save money too, and calories!

Lastly, I feel the chef left out one important step in this recipe....which I always use when working with eggplant. After it is sliced, I salt it, place it in a strainer, cover it with paper towel, and put something heavy on it to drain all the bitter juices and mositure. Sometimes you will get an eggplant that is not bitter, but if you do get a bitter one...it is not good. So, when I know I am going to be making an eggplant dish, I try to get it prepped a couple of hours in advance so it has some times to sit.

Other than the draining-the-eggplant step, this dish was delicious!!

To read more about the cookbook, visit my review.

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