Rollatini is an Italian-American dish known as ‘rollatini di melanzane’. The traditional rollatini recipes call for thin slices of eggplants which are dusted with flour and breaded before being rolled up baked with a covering of ricotta cheese. The eggplant in the rollatini is often replaced with veal or chicken and served as an appetizer. The name for the dish varies from region to region with involtini di melanzane being the right Italian term for it. It may also be spelled as rolatini or rolletini in some places.
History Of Rollatini
The rollatini is seen as a dish prepared in the New World by Italian immigrants. The traditional Italians prefer to use pounded veal meat but the poor immigrants belonging to the peasant class created the rollatini recipes with the cheaper eggplant which was versatile enough to replace the expensive meat.
The term rollatini is not standard Italian either and might have come from the Italian communities who were trying to learn English. The rollatini recipes are believed to have been brought out on Fridays when the staunch Catholics observed a meatless day.
The rolatini recipe seems to have been popularized in Italy much later and now finds mention in a number of Italian cookbooks.
Ingredients And Popular Rollatini Recipes
Tomato paste along with thinly sliced pieces of eggplants and ricotta cheese are all the ingredients needed for baking the rollatini. Slices of Prosciutto ham and anchovy fillets are also used to give the dish more flavor while a basil pesto sauce may be substituted for the tomatoes making it different in taste. It is generally served hot and garnished with lemon wedges.
While the eggplant rollatini remains a strong favorite in America many variations of the dish have been popularized over the years as well. Some of the easily available ones are prepared with:-
• Veal- Thin slices of veal scaloppini cooked with garlic, mozzarella cheese and fresh parsley.
• Chicken- Deli ham and milk also go into the dish apart from chicken cutlets which are rolled and kept in place with the aid of toothpicks.
• Lasagna- A mixture of cheese, spinach and parsley placed on lasagna sheets and rolled together before baking.
Nutritional Value Of Rollatini
The rollatini is rich in calories with high amounts of sodium. It also contains a good amount of protein without any traces of vitamins or minerals unless fresh vegetables are added to it. Best eaten in moderation, the dish is not considered to be healthy for weight watchers.
The Italian word for rolls is rotolo which has been reversed by the American Italians while naming the rollatini.