Eggplant Florentine with Forest Mushrooms
Caffe Villa Verde
4 pkg. fresh or 1-1.5 C. frozen spinach, stems removed and chopped
1 C. ricotta cheese
2 T. garlic, minced
1/4 C. pine nuts, chopped
2 T. clarified butter
2-3 forest mushrooms per serving (2 rolls)
1 oz. Mozzarella cheese, grated per serving (2 rolls)
In a heated skillet, brown the garlic in butter and saute spinach. Allow to cool. Mix in ricotta cheese. Set aside.
Peel the eggplant racetrack style: Peel lengthwise 1" then leave unpeeled 1" and so on until completed around entire eggplant. Slice into 1/4" thick slices. Dredge in flour and saute quickly for 15 seconds on each side to produce a pliable leaf.
Place some spinach filling on each eggplant leaf and roll into a cannoli shape. Place rolls in a lightly oiled baking pan. Top the rolls with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven just until browned.
Serve 2 rolls with 1 oz. basil pesto sauce and Forest mushrooms on the side.
1- 1.5 C. diced tomatoes
4 C. tomato sauce
3/4 C. onion, finely chopped
2 T. garlic, finely chopped
2 T. olive oil
pinch of each: oregano, thyme, basil, sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly brown. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
4 C. fresh basil leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped, lightly packed
2 C. fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped PLUS 2 T. dried basil leaves
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. garlic, chopped
1/4 C. pine nuts or walnuts, finely chopped
2 C. olive oil
1 C. freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Combine the basil or parsley/dried basil, salt, pepper, garlic, nuts and 1 C. olive oil in a blender jar. Blend them at high speed until ingredients are smooth, stopping the blender every 5-6 seconds to push herbs down with a rubber spatula. Sauce should be thin enough to run off the spatula easily. If it seems to thick, add in extra oil until the consistency is proper. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and add in the grated cheese.