Stuffed Pancakes with Eggplant and Ricotta in Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Pancakes with Eggplant and Ricotta in Tomato Sauce

Eggplant aside from whiskers on kittens and raindrops on roses is one of my favourite things. If you too pop eggplant and ricotta rolls as if they were sweets, think that “salata de vinete” with onions is totally acceptable breakfast fare, take second helpings of moussaka, polish off the entire bowl of moutabal yourself when “sharing” mezze  and don’t notice that there is no meat in “melanzane parmigiana” then you might like this amalgamation. Beer, eggplant, tomato sauce and Ricotta  (or in Romania “Urda” the local whey cheese) in one dish – how can this not taste good?

Its eggplant bonanza time in August so a good time of year to combine over ripe tomatoes into a tomato sauce, the local Romanian “Urda” which is the same stuff as the oh so trendy and oh so overpriced imported Italian ricotta with the bounteous plump purple torpedoes.

Gadgets & Gizmos

A ceramic or glass dish to bake the finished pancakes in – square or rectangular works best.

Timeline & Planning

If you don’t have approx 750ml-1litre of tomato sauce to hand and some crepes then making all from scratch needs a little planning. I actually make the pancakes while the veggies are roasting so that all you need to do is mix the filling, blitz the sauce, assemble and bake.  But yes the dish is a bit fiddly so I tend to make batches of tomato sauce and batches of pancakes as both are versatile and useful things.

Ingredients:   serves four as a main course

8 pancakes (Crêpes à la bière)

750ml- 1 litre of tomato sauce (Lemon Squeezy Tomato Sauce)

For the filling:

Two Medium size eggplant approx 1kg

300-400g Ricotta (you don’t want all cheese and no eggplant). I recently used “Urda de capra” or goat Urda and the sheep version is fabulous too.

100g parmesan

salt, pepper, nutmeg

How To

Slice the eggplant into thick slices and place on an oiled baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake for approximately one hour.  The eggplant does need to be cooked and not shoeleathery like so many badly made grilled vegetable side dishes that give grilled eggplant a bad name. Part of eggplant’s allure is that creamy texture when it is properly cooked.

Chop the eggplant roughly into cubes and mash in the cheese and approximately two thirds of the parmesan. I add a little nutmeg, salt and pepper and sometimes a little fresh thyme.

Spoon two good tablespoons of filling onto a pancake and squish it down a bit with the pancake rolled over. This is actually easier than it sounds. Tuck in the ends (although not vital) so the pancakes fit the dish and place in the dish. Cover with tomato sauce and bake.

Pour over the tomato sauce, sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and bake in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes until the cheese is nicely browned.

Serve with a green salad and a glass of something cold.

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