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Denise’s UnRollatini August 28, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, Uncategorized.
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Silence Dogood here. I was working out at my local Curves yesterday, chatting with the owner, Denise Rivera, about food. (What do women talk about when they’re working out? Food, men, kids, and losing weight, of course, not necessarily in that order.) Anyway, we were talking about Italian food, and Denise mentioned one of my all-time faves, rollatini.

Do you know rollatini? It’s like the absolute ultimate eggplant parm. Each thin, delicious slice of eggplant is wrapped around a ricotta filling (thus the name “rollatini”) before the sauce and cheese are added. Yum! If I’m in a restaurant that offers this dish, I’m in heaven. Just give me a big, fresh salad to eat with it and leave me in peace.

Rollatini is one of the dishes I’ve never tried to make at home, though—it just looks too complicated. So I was thrilled when Denise said that she makes a version that you don’t have to roll up. You still get every bit of the goodness without nearly as much work. I persuaded her to share the recipe with all of us, so without more ado, here’s Denise’s UnRollatini:

                    Denise’s UnRollatini

To make this dish, you’ll need 2 large or 3 medium eggplants, garlic breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup milk, 3 eggs, olive oil, large container of ricotta cheese, jar tomato sauce or two pint jars of homemade sauce or equivalent fresh-made, fresh mozzarella, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion salt, onion powder, and a small bunch fresh parsley or to taste. [Note from Silence: If you want to try to make your own from-scratch sauce, see my earlier post, "What to do with all those ripe tomatoes, part three."]

Beat one of the eggs and milk together. Slice the eggplants into rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg/milk mixture, then into the breadcrumbs so both sides are coated. Fry the eggplant slices in hot olive oil, then set them on paper towels to drain.

Mince the parsley. Mix the remaining eggs and seasonings, including parsley, into the ricotta cheese, using as much of the garlic and onion seasonings as you like.

In a baking dish, layer the sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta mix, mozzarella, and sauce, and repeat, continuing to add layers until all ingredients are used. Make sure the final layers are sauce and (on top) mozzarella. Put the dish in a 350-degree oven and bake for about half an hour, until it starts to bubble and the cheese is melted.

Eat and enjoy, or as Denise says, “Mangia!”

Of course, Denise offers more than good conversation and good recipes at the Kutztown, PA Curves. I can’t believe that you haven’t seen signs for Curves in your area, but if you’re not familiar with Curves—or if you’ve never ventured inside a Curves—let me tell you a little bit about it.

Each Curves offers its members an exercise circuit—a group of exercise machines that work all your muscle groups—plus exercise stations between each machine where you can jog, walk, do step exercises, or whatever you’d like. The combination of resistance training (the machines) and aerobics (the exercise stations) gives you a full-body workout, and the machines have resistance built in, you you don’t have to set them to your chosen level of resistance, you just work out on each one at the level you want and the machine does the rest. You can make two rounds of the circuit in half an hour, with peppy music to help you keep up the pace and a voice-over letting you know when it’s time to switch to the next machine or exercise station.

Doing the two rounds of the Curves circuit three times a week will keep you healthy, especially when combined with a half-hour walk on the off days. But if you want to get fit or lose weight, you can up the ante with extra rounds and/or daily visits, as I do. It’s painless, fun, and unintimidating—since it’s women-only, you don’t have to worry about what you look like, what you weigh, how fit you are, or your age. (I routinely see women in their 70s who are more coordinated than I’ll ever be, and I love it when mothers bring their young daughters to work out with them. Talk about setting a good example!) It’s also a great way to meet other women in your area and to learn about great restaurants, movies, and other activities you might otherwise miss. Not to mention recipes!

I encourage you to check Curves out. (You can find out more about it and see which locations are closest to you at their website, www.Curves.com.) And if you’re in the Kutztown vicinity, stop in and say hi to Denise. Tell her Silence sent you!

              ‘Til next time,

                             Silence

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Comments»

1. linda - August 28, 2008

Good morning Silence, I love eggplant parmigiana, haven’t ever tried rollatini. It sounds delicious. I think I’ll give Denise’s recipe a try.

Curves is in our area too, competing with a Chicago area chain of women’s health clubs I used to work for years ago. I was the corporate office manager, and we had a club right next door to the office. I spent many a lunch hour working out in the club, and really enjoyed the women’s-only atmosphere.

Go for it, Linda! And yes, that daily workout is a great thing!


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