Saturday, April 04, 2009

April 1, 2009: Eggplant lasagne rolls

When it comes to food, Cindy and I are hopeless pre-planners. So most work-days at around midday we'll start an email exchange about 1) what's for dinner and 2) who's going to buy which ingredients on their way home. On Wednesday I started things off with a vague suggestion that we try some sort of lasagne. In about fifteen minutes Cindy had fired back an email with links to no less than seven lasagne options. After much pondering, I settled on this one from VeganYumYum, at least in part due to Pip's ringing endorsement.

It's hard to overstate how great this meal is - the pine nut paste that coats each lasagne sheet is stunning - its rich flavours really permeate each little roll. We opted for the standard eggplant filling, but there are countless ways you could tweak the basic idea (I'm keen to up the vegie quotient with some mushies and maybe pumpkin next time). There's a fair bit of work in the recipe, but none of it is very difficult and if you're vaguely organised you won't panic and end up with pasta sheets sticking irrevocably together. Still, minor mishaps aside, this was our second outstanding home-cooked meal for the week. After a few weeks of laziness I'm feeling really reenthused about this cooking lark now.

Normally I'd just link to Lolo's recipe and trust that it will be there forever, but with something this good I'm taking no chances:

Eggplant lasagne rolls

6 sheets of lasagne
1 large eggplant
olive oil
2 cups tomatoey sauce (we used this one)
1 cup breadcrumbs

1 cup pine nuts
1 tbs water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp salt

Peel the eggplant and slice it into long skinny strips and then sprinkle the slices generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant strips until well-browned. You'll need to do this in a few batches, and the eggplant will soak up the oil each time, so you end up using a fairly substantial amount of oil. Trust me, it's worth it - you get deliciously tender eggplant strips at the end of it all. Besides, olive oil is good for you, right?

In the same pan, toast the pine-nuts until they brown (but be careful - they go from nicely toasted to burned in no time).

Stick the pine nuts in a food processor and grind them up. Throw in the water, lemon juice, dried Italian herbs and salt into the food processor and process them into a delicious paste.

Now you've got your key ingredients together, quickly cook the lasagne sheets in boiling water until al dente and then lay the strips out on a baking tray or chopping board.

Now it's assembly time: smear each lasagne sheet with a teaspoon or so of the pine nut paste, pile on a few of the eggplant strips and then loosely roll the sheets up.

Place the rolled sheets in a baking dish, pour the tomato sauce over, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and then bake for around twenty minutes - until the breadcrumbs look like lightly browned parmesan.


  1. So, this Indian-themes potluck ... lasagne's Indian right? I'm sure that pine nuts, olive oil and pasta are totally subcontinental ....
    It looks fabulous and the rave reviews are very inspiring!

  2. i know! how good is this! i want to marry this recipe. is that possible?

  3. love that top photo - great idea to roll up the lasagne (I assume you used fresh) - sounds like a cross between lasagne and cannelloni

  4. That's a very handsome looking dinner.

  5. Philippa - I'm sure there's at least one U.S. state that will recognise the marriage. ;-)

    Johanna - this wasn't fresh pasta! Just dried supermarket lasagne sheets, boiled before rolling.

    Bunches - I need to use the word 'handsome' more often, in reference to anything but a man.

  6. Just made this for dinner. Was a favourite with wife and daughter. Served with fresh corn on the cob and a green salad. Thanks for the great posts!

  7. Oh, that's great Nudbot! I would never have thought of corn on the cob as a side, but I bet it's awesome. :-)