- 1 lb eggplant
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cups mozzarella, grated
- ½ cups parmesan, grated plus extra for
- ¼ cups basil leaves, shredded
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups tomato sauce*
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices and generously salt both sides of each slice. Let the salt draw out the moisture from the eggplant for 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, fold together all three cheeses with about half of the basil, spinach and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel.
- Brush each slice, front and back, with the remaining olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes to make the slices more tender and pliable then cool on the baking sheet.
- Add about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture to narrower end of a slice of eggplant. Roll up the filling and, if necessary, use a toothpick to keep everything in place. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
- Spoon some of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, arranging the eggplant manicotti rolls so that they lay in the pan seam-side down in a single layer. If you used toothpicks you can remove them at this time.
- Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the manicottis and bake them for 30 minutes or until they've heated all the way through and the cheese is bubbly.
- To plate, spoon some of the hot tomato sauce onto the middle of the plate, then, using a thin spatula, remove the manicottis and place on the plate, sprinkle with basil and more parmesan cheese.
*Use your favorite recipe or store bought (we like Bertolli's Organic in a pinch) and check back later this summer for Vibrant Valley Farm's own tomato sauce recipe.