Summers’ Sultry Solstice: Eggplant Ricotta ‘Ravioli’ with Summer Tomato Sauce

Eggplant Ravioli2 (1 of 1)

SUMMER!!! How I love thee!! There is nothing like the garden bounty of a midsummer’s day.

I just returned home from a trip to Uganda. (wait? what??? Uganda? I do volunteer work with women. A story for another day indeed.)

However, it meant NO salad, veggies or fruit washed in local water for an entire 8 days. I drooled over every plump ripe tomato being sold roadside; every leaf of crispy cool lettuce; every juicy exotic fruit. By the time I boarded my plane, I was dreaming of caprese salads topped with slivers of basil.

I arrived home to find my summer garden in full swing – a gift from Mother Nature beyond imagine. Plump juicy tomatoes of all shapes and sizes; monster zucchini plants; spiny artichokes begging to be picked; armfuls of herbs. I skipped gleefully to my garden with armloads of baskets.

Back in the kitchen, happiness ensued….fresh basil oil, zucchini pancakes and pickles, summer tomato sauce and yes, finally that caprese salad!

I found this recipe in a back summer issue of La Cucina Italiana – although a bit time consuming, it is incredibly easy. And it is low carb (only a tad of flour) for your low carb buddies. I added the basil oil – skip it if you are short on time and just drizzle with some killer extra-virgin olive oil.

The summer tomato sauce should be a keeper for everyone’s repertoire. You only want to make this in the height of summer but there are almost no words for the taste of a fresh uncooked tomato sauce –the incredible flavor simply screams summer.

So grateful and happy to be home.

Happy, happy summer!

Eggplant Ricotta ‘Ravioli’ with Summer Tomato Sauce

Slightly adapted from La Cucina Italiana, Agosto 2012


For basil oil:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

For the tomato sauce:

  • About 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • About ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the eggplant ravioli:

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced thinly crosswise (chiffonade), plus additional for garnish
  • 2 large eggplants, about 1 pound each
  • All-purpose flour


Make the basil oil: Blanch the basil in a medium saucepan of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Drain the basil and rinse under cold water. . Using paper towels, pat the basil dry. Transfer to a blender and add the olive oil. Pulse or puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes prior to using.

Make the summer tomato sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Pulse until pureed. Add in the basil and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.   Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Remove and let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes prior to using.

Make the eggplant ravioli:

In a medium bowl, combine the fresh ricotta, grated Parmigiano and olive oil. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil.

Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut off top and bottom to flatten. Slice into ¼ inch slices, either by hand or using a mandolin. You should have approximately 10-15 slices for each eggplant, depending on size.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Very lightly flour a large baking sheet. Place 2 or 3 slices of eggplant in the skillet to soften for about 30 seconds. Repeat on other side of eggplant. Lay the softened eggplant slices on a board and place a generous teaspoon of the ricotta in the center of each slice. Roll up each slice and gently press the edges to seal. Lay on the floured tray. Repeat with all the slices. Lightly flour the top of the eggplant slices.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in the same nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently place the eggplant slices in the skillet and cook until browned, 1-2 minutes. Carefully flip to other side and cook until browned. Remove to a platter or tray and keep warm. Repeat with all the eggplant slices.

To serve, place some of the tomato sauce on each platter. Top with 3 or 4 eggplant ‘ravioli’. Drizzle with the basil oil and some additional basil chiffonade. Serve! Bon appetito!



Join the Conversation

  1. Teresa Salvatore says:

    Welcome Home!

    My mouth watered reading this one! Eggplant is my son’s favorite meal! He’ll turn 30 next week – going to give this a try.

    Love to All,

    1. Michele Author says:

      Thanks, Tess!!!! Good to be home – enjoy the recipe – hope he enjoys it as much as we did! Saluti to everyone, Michele

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