I am a bit distrustful when people tell me they just don't like Italian food. What is not to like? The cheese? The carbs? The generous servings of garlic?
That being said, with all my current food intolerances, I do find it increasingly difficult to find/eat Italian food that doesn't make me feel like the bathroom walls are closing in around me a few hours later. Garlic, onion and gluten are probably my worst offenders at the moment, so you can kiiiiiiinda see why this delectable cuisine is a tough nut. And yes, I have had many people point out to me how depressing it is. I am well aware, thks.
I have always loved involtini, and my Mum makes it on a semi regular basis. I decided to revamp her recipe, with a few FODMAP friendlier additions and subtractions, provided you can eat some dairy. I miss garlic like the deserts miss the rain, but right now I also like feeling like the end is not nigh. You, however, can add some garlic if you're not a vampire like me.
SIDE NOTE: I do apologise for the repetitive photos, I lifted a small side table prior to shooting the involtini, and wound up on the floor with a $200 chiropractic bill. Note to self: get fitter. Or just fit.
4 medium sized eggplants (the weight of mine totalled 1.3kg with the stems removed)
1kg good quality ricotta (not the watery stuff in plastic containers, at LEAST go to the Deli at the supermarket)
100g freshly grated good quality parmesan (plus extra, to sprinkle on top)
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of sage
generous salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Persian feta (optional but delicious, one can never have too many cheeses/Danish feta would be a good substitute)
300g heirloom tomatoes (they don't actually need to be heirloom but they were on sale and all I could see were dollar savings and aesthetic bonuses)
1) Slice your eggplant into into about 1-2cm slices, and arrange them in a large bowl. Sprinkle them extremely liberally with table salt, and set aside for 15-20 minutes. The salt will encourage them to sweat out excess moisture.
2) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and pop some baking paper on a tray, along with your tomatoes, a spray of olive oil and some sea salt. Turn the timer on for 30 minutes.
3) In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, Persian fetta (if you're using it) generous salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and herbs (reserving a few for the top if you plan to Instagram it later) and mix well.
4) Dry off your eggplant slices. You have two options here, depending on the kitchen utensils available to you. I cooked my eggplant slices in a sandwich press, which is fabulous because it cooks it perfectly, you can walk off and procrastinate, and you barely have to use any oil. You can easily cook them in a pan, but they drink up oil like I drink G&T's on a Friday night. Excessively.
5) Once you have cooked all your eggplant slices and let them cool, begin to stuff them with the ricotta mixture. There is loads of ricotta mixture so pls stuff them as much as you can. Although eating the ricotta mixture on it's own is kind of delicious. Arrange the stuffed and rolled involtini in a large baking dish as you roll them, making sure they're snuggled up and close to eachother.
6) Once the involtini are sorted, squash up your tomatoes a little bit, and lay them on top. You can use tinned tomatoes if you really want to, but I have a strong aversion to them and always will.
7) Top with extra grated fresh parmesan and pop in the oven for about half an hour, or until golden. Top with extra herbs and ur done.