Roasted Eggplant & Veal Manicotti in Bechamel Sauce & Roasted Garlic & Basil Tomato Sauce
This dish has a lot of steps, but definitely worth it. You can do all of it ahead of time and then just throw it together. The use of both sauces makes this a flavorful, rich dish that is sure to impress and satisfy. You can always use a jarred sauce, but the freshness of the roasted tomato and garlic along with fresh basil added to the deliciousness of the dish.
Serve with a simple caesar salad & garlic bread. (*I forgot about the bread and it looks “burnt” – but honestly, it tasted great.)
1 lb ground veal
1 small eggplant, large dice (about 2 cups)
1 large shallot, minced
1 container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded six cheese italian
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp butter, cubed (for dotting)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook manicotti just shy of al dente. You want it to be semi cooked but firm so that the pasta does not tear when filling. (I used Ronzoni shells and cooked for about 5 minutes). Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place cooked pasta on it to cool.
While the eggplant is sweating. Heat a skillet over med heat and add about tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the shallot until tender and translucent, add ground veal and cook until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
Rinse and pat dry the eggplant. Toss in olive oil, lightly salt and pepper and place in jelly roll pan or cookie pan with sides. Roast for approximately 25-30 minutes (turning once). Depending on size of your dice, you may not need to roast that long – you don’t want it mushy). Remove from oven and let cool.
I didn’t pre-make my sauces, so I integrated some of their steps into my prep of the manicotti at this point. It was simple to roast the tomatoes and garlic at the same time as the eggplant.
In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, egg, parsley and about a cup of the six-cheese italian, salt & pepper to taste. Add in the veal and roasted eggplant and combine thoroughly.
Fill your manicotti. I found it super easy to put the mixture into a large storage bag, cut off one corner and pipe into the pasta shell. I filled all 14 tubes evenly with not one drop of mixture left over.
Assemble in baking dish(es) with sauces. I used two 9×9 baking dishes, but you can certainly use a 9×13 or larger. Ladle about a cup of the Bechamel Sauce into the bottom of each dish (more if using a larger dish). Then ladle about 1/2 cup tomato sauce in center and swirl over bottom of dish.
Place your manicotti on top of the sauces, then top with remaining bechamel and tomato sauces. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of six-cheese italian and dot with butter.
Bake in 350 oven for 30-40 minutes (or until sauces are bubbling). Remove from oven and let stand for 8-10 minutes. If making garlic bread, put in now. When done, serve the manicotti with a simple caesar salad and nice italian red wine.