A well-known and excellent antipasto (that I haven’t posted about yet, but I will at some point) is involtini of roasted eggplant, mozzarella and basil. Years ago I thought it would be nice to combine this with veal scaloppine and a bit of tomato sauce. I really loved the result and made it often when I had guests over for dinner. I hadn’t made it for a few years until yesterday, and liked it as much as before. It’s not difficult to make but the taste is very impressive.
For 4 servings
4 veal scaloppine (around 120 grams/4 oz each), pounded thin
8 large basil leaves or 16 small leaves
1 cup passata (sieved tomatoes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp butter
parmigiano reggiano slivers
250 grams (1/2 pound) mozzarella, preferably buffalo
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut off both ends. Hold an eggplant upright and cut off the peel on two opposite sides.
Cut the eggplant into 4 equally thick slices with skin on the sides. Repeat with the other eggplant.
Put the eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Leave like this for 1 hour to draw out the juices and render the eggplant easier to roast.
Preheat the oven to 225C/440F. Wipe the eggplant slices dry with paper towels. Brush them with olive oil. Roast them for 30-40 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until golden, turning them over after around 20 minutes. Watch them carefully at the end, because they turn from too light to too dark in a matter of minutes!
Rub the veal scaloppine with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté the veal scaloppine until golden, about 1 minute per side. Wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them warm. If you have a second oven, put them in there at 65C/150F.
Take the scaloppine out of the pan. Discard the fat. Deglaze the pan with the passata. Let simmer over medium heat until reduced in half. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the broiler. Slice the mozzarella and cover the eggplant slices with mozzarella. Put under the broiler until the cheese has melted. Be careful not to burn the eggplant!
Use preheated plates. Spread 2 Tbsp of the tomato sauce in the middle on each plate.
Put a veal scaloppina on top.
Cover with basil leaves.
Finish with 2 eggplant slices. Serve with some slivers of parmigiano reggiano and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Advise your guests to try to eat everything (tomato sauce, veal, eggplant, mozzarella) in one bite.
This complex elegant dish goes well with a complex elegant Italian red made from sangiovese such as a good Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or even a Brunello if it’s not too heavy. All of these wines should have aged for at least 6 years (probably more like 10 for the Brunello).