A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life

Contest entry #1

@GDeLaurentiis Having sooo much fun looking @ all the food pix u guys have entered…keep um coming!
What??  Giada is having a photo contest!  Sounds like a challenge I am up for.  So, I headed over to Giada’s website ( and took a look at the details for the Let’s Get Cooking photo contest.  Giada has posted 50 recipes on her site, and the challenge is to recreate the recipe, and take a publication worthy photograph of your dish.  Entry #1: Eggplant Rollatini.

The first step is to make the simple tomato sauce:
  • extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing the vegetables
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat some extra-virgin olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the celery and carrots, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Pour in the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and 2 bay leaves.  Bring the sauce to a simmer, and allow to simmer, uncovered, for an hour.  The sauce should thicken slightly.
Next, prepare the rollatinis
  • 3 medium-sized eggplants (I used the largest eggplant I had ever seen)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 20 basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce
Peal the eggplants and slice them lengthwise.  Place the eggplant on a rack, season with salt.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes, water will begin to come out of the eggplant slices.  Wipe the eggplant dry.  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.  Spray the pan with cooking spray, and heat the eggplant for about 3 minutes per side, to get a slight browning on each side.  Allow eggplant slices to cook.
In a large bowl, combine egg, cheese and pine nuts.  Fold in the basil, do not over mix.
Place an eggplant slice on a cutting board, and spoon 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling onto one end.  Roll up the eggplant, and place in a large baking dish, seam side down.  Repeat with all eggplant slices.  Cover with about 2 cups of the tomato sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.
When they were finished, I plated them out and have submitted this photograph to the contest, wish me luck.

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2011 by in Peter Waterman's posts.
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