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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Mamma Giovanna’s Involtini di Melanzane (Aubergine Rolls, my mum’s recipe)

This is a very beloved dish from my childhood. Something my mum has been making regularly for decades, probably one of the first things I learnt to cook.

Three ingredients are compulsory here - aubergines, tomato sauce and breadcrumbs. Everything else is customisable to your taste and ingredient availability.

We like to deep fry eggplants but today I’m grilling them for a healthier, lighter version.

Today I’m sharing my own favourite version, based on my mum’s recipe, but with a couple of adaptations.


For the tomato sauce:

  • 400g tomato passata

  • 1 tbsp evo oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • A few basil leaves, chopped

  • Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

For the aubergine rolls:

  • 2 large aubergines, sliced lengthwise to 1/2 cm thickness

  • 2 tbsp evo oil, divided

  • 120g breadcrumbs (use gluten-free crumbs to make this dish #glutenfree

  • 2 tbsp raisins

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts

  • A large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

  • 125g mozzarella (skip to make #vegan or use vegan cheese)

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Firstly, place the aubergine slices on a colander or tea towel and sprinkle with salt to allow them to “sweat” for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off excess moisture and set aside.

Brush a griddle with 1 tbsp olive oil and grill the slices in batches. Set aside to cool.

Dry roast the breadcrumbs until browned and crunchy. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt, pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Roughly chop pine nuts and raisins and add them to the bowl too. Season with the remaining olive oil and mix well.

To make the sauce, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the garlic. Allow it to brown for a few seconds, then stir in the tomato sauce. Season with salt, sugar and pepper and add a few basil leaves. Cook, covered, for at least 20 minutes or until the oil separates.

Layer a wide pan or baking tray with the tomato sauce.

Make the aubergine rolls by placing on each aubergine slice 1 heaped tsp of the breadcrumb mixture and a small piece of mozzarella. Roll and place, seam side down, in the sauce.

You can now either cook on the stove for 10 minutes, or bake in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes.

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