For the sauce:
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 28 oz. cans whole Italian tomatoes, crushed with your hand,
Freshly ground black pepper
For the rollatini:
6oz. capellini or angel hair pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
3 lb. fresh eggplant
For the sauce: Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and a healthy pinch of kosher salt and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and the juice left over in the can and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30-40 minutes. (Can be made two days ahead. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate.)
For the eggplant:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top (stem end) off each eggplant. Cut into thin slices – somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 inch. Don’t make them too thin or they will burn. Place the slices on baking sheets and drizzle each side with olive oil.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes per side. The eggplant should be starting to turn brown and beginning to soften when you decide to turn it over. Once done, remove slices to a rack to cool completely. (Can be made one day ahead. Stack the slices in a large container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.)
For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the capellini and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente – 2-3 minutes. Drain and immediately add the olive oil and cheeses. Stir well, until pasta is well coated with cheese. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a 13 x 9 baking dish, spread 1 1/2 cups sauce over the bottom of the pan. Have the eggplant slices, the noodles, and the basil right in front of you. Place an eggplant slice on a work surface. Using your fingers, place a healthy pinch of noodles on the rounded end and sprinkle with a little bit of basil.
- Roll the eggplant up and over the noodles and place in the baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, noodles, and basil. Meanwhile, reheat the remaining sauce over low heat.
- Cover the baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. (At this point the dish can be assembled one day ahead and refrigerated.) Place in the oven and bake until heated through – 20-25 minutes. Spoon warmed sauce over each portion.