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Eggplant-Prosciutto Involtini


(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

As I had previously mentioned in last postings, sometimes I pair the meal to an existing wine, rather than doing the opposite.


In this particular case, I had received this rare wine from France, featuring the unique Carignan grape.

Carignan is a red grape variety of Spanish origin that is more commonly found in French wine but is widely planted throughout the western Mediterranean and around the globe.



(Photo: Courtesy of a private collection)

I am sure many are asking themselves… an Italian dish with a French wine? Sacrilege!


I know, I know but in doing my research, I found that Carignan grape-based wines go nicely with vegetable dishes, particularly eggplant.


Trust me, the combination will truly be memorable.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Eggplant & Prosciutto Involtini baked with fresh sugo di pomodoro (sauce) & Grana Padano.


Wine pairing: 2020 Mont Gravet Carignan

(IGP Pays d'Herault - Pays d’Oc, Languedoc France)


Serves 4


Ingredients

Pomodoro (tomato) sauce:

  • 2 large fresh tomatoes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small peeled and finely minced yellow onion

  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves

  • 12-16 fresh basil leaves (save 12 for plate garnish, 3 leaves per plate)

  • sea salt and pepper to taste


Involtini:

  • 1 large eggplant (cut lengthwise, in thin slices)

  • 6-8 long, thin slices of prosciutto

  • Olive oil

  • 1cup of ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup of grated Gana Padano or Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1/3 cup of fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper

Grana Padano (or Parmesan) cheese:

  • enough to sprinkle on top of pan and some extra to top later on when eating.


Directions

Pomodoro sauce:

  • Add the fresh tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  • Add the olive oil to a large pot at low heat. Add in garlic and onion and cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.

  • Pour in the pureed tomatoes and simmer over low to medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Tip: the longer you simmer it, the better it will taste.

  • Finish by stirring in basil, salt and pepper (to taste).


*I highly recommend making the pomodoro sauce ahead of time, even a day before if time allows, but already 30 minutes prior to making the involtini.


Involtini:

  • Preheat over on 400 degrees F.

  • In a medium sized bowl, mix ricotta cheese, grana padano (or parmesan) cheese, parsley, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Lightly coat eggplant slices with olive oil and arrange individual slices of prosciutto on top of each eggplant slice.

  • Add a generous spoonful of the cheese-herb mix on top of the eggplant slices, save at least 4 tablespoons of cheese mix.

  • Roll up eggplant slices and secure with toothpicks.

  • Lightly oil a cast-iron with olive oil and place rolled up eggplants, arranging them so they are one next to each other, leaving a little empty space in the middle of the pan.

  • Place in tomato sauce in the pan on top and around eggplant roll ups.

  • Add remaining cheese mix to the middle of the pan.

  • Generously dust top of pan with plenty Grana Padano (or Parmesan) cheese.

  • Place pan in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden.


Serve it up!

As you can see in this posting, the finished product in the cast iron pan makes a fantastic presentation all unto itself.


You definitely want to serve this family style straight from the pan to the serving plates.


*You might want to have some crusty baguette style bread handy because you would want to scoop all the deliciousness of the sauce and cheese.

Buon appetito! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)



(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)



(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)


About the wine...

A special thank you to Winesellers Limited for this delightfully complex and beautifully balanced French varietal. C’est super!


The Herault region of Languedoc is the warmest part of the Languedoc and perfect for the Carignan grape which is particularly well suited to hot and dry climatic conditions.

The vines, all over 50 years old, are planted in calcareous soil on hillside vineyards near the town of Cruzy. Yields are kept to a minimum.


2020 Mont Gravet Carignan

(IGP Pays d'Herault - Pays d’Oc, Languedoc, France)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)


Tasting notes: Deep, dark color and lovely aromas of blackberries and figs. This wine is full bodied and rich in flavor, but elegant with a long fruit-forward finish. Also, very good when serve slightly chilled.


Grapes: 100% Old Vine Carignan


Food pairing: The perfect barbeque wine but great with grilled vegetables, pasta, beef stews and other red meats.


For more information, visit: http://www.winesellersltd.com/wine/Cotes%20de%20Gascogne,%20Pays%20d'Oc,%20IGP%20Pays%20d'Herault/Mont%20Gravet/Mont%20Gravet%20Carignan%20(IGP%20Pays%20d'Herault)/2020.html

&

https://www.winesellersltd.com

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Decorative wine drip collar by: https://dripstosips.com

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)



(Photo: Courtesy of a private collection)


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