November 10, 2014

Meatless Monday: Rocco Dispirito's Eggplant Manicotti

I am an avid cookbook reader and collector and easily have over 100 cookbooks on my shelf. I recently purchased a cookbook by Chef Rocco Dispirito called Now Eat This! I am loving his low cal versions of my favorite comfort food dishes! Today for Meatless Monday I thought I would share this Eggplant Manicotti. Not only does this cheesy, gooey and vegetarian meal taste amazing but it's also only 238 calories per serving! 


Ingredients: 

Serves 4-6
  • 1 large eggplant (about 8 inches long and 5 inches in diameter)  
  • 1 cup fat free ricotta 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat jarred marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • non stick olive oil spray (or use a basting brush to apply oil)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2.  Using a large, sharp knife, square off the eggplant to make a block about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 8 slices that are about 1/6 inch thick.
  3. Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper to taste and spray lightly with olive oil spray (or brush on olive oil).
  4. Roast until the eggplant is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Let it cool slightly. (Leave the oven on).
  5. While the eggplant is cooling, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the basil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 8X10 baking dish.
  7. Lay the roasted eggplant out and spoon one eighth of the ricotta mixture onto the bottom of each piece of eggplant, and then roll it up, jelly-roll style, to encase the filling. 
  8. Nestle the 8 eggplant "manicotti", seam side down, in the baking dish.
  9. Spoon the remaining 3/4 cup marinara sauce over the eggplant. 
  10. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  11. Bake until cheese is bubbly and the filling is hot, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately. 
Note: I actually cut my eggplant long and thin so I had a lot more then 8 slices! But I still filled them and rolled them up and they tasted great! 

Source: "Now Eat This" by Rocco Dispirito

Start with a large, clean eggplant. Cut the ends off and then cut into slices. 
I did long thin slices, but Rocco does wider slices. Both ways work!
Season with salt and pepper and spray on olive oil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. 
Make the filling: combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the basil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove eggplant from oven and let cool slightly. 
Spread 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 8X10 baking dish.
Lay the roasted eggplant out and spoon one eighth of the ricotta mixture onto the bottom of each piece of eggplant, and then roll it up, jelly-roll style, to encase the filling. 

Nestle the 8 eggplant "manicotti", seam side down, in the baking dish.


Spoon the remaining 3/4 cup marinara sauce over the eggplant. 
Sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake until cheese is bubbly and the filling is hot, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately.
Stay tuned for more tasty meals from this cookbook. It's definitely a new favorite of mine! 

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