For the Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes
  • A few leaves of basil, torn
For the roll-ups
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium to large firm eggplants, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Salt
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • A small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound spicy capicola ham
  • 1 pound fresh or smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

For sauce, heat a medium saucepot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. When oil is hot, add onions, chili pepper, garlic, bay, oregano or marjoram, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook until soft. Add tomato paste, stir a minute then add stock, crushed tomatoes and basil. Simmer over low heat to thicken a little and combine flavors.

Meanwhile, preheat cast iron grill pan or broiler. Lightly salt and drain eggplant on paper towels. Heat an inch of EVOO in a small pot over medium heat with garlic to infuse oil. Brush eggplant planks with EVOO and grill or broil in batches a few minutes on each side until charred and very tender, cool to handle.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta with egg yolk, nutmeg, parm and parsley. Line the bottom of a baking dish with a ladleful of sauce.

On each slice of eggplant, arrange 2 thin slices of ham and spread with ricotta cheese mixed with 1 egg yolk, nutmeg, Parm and parsley. Roll eggplant up and set into baking dish. Repeat to fill dish and use up ingredients, top with remaining sauce. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella over each roll up and bake 30 minutes.

Serve with green salad or sauted kale alongside.