Gio’s Cucina

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-Chef John Ruggeri




Gio’s Cucina is your source for mouth watering recipes straight from Head Chef John Ruggeri’s Secret Recipe Book. Check back each month for a new dish!


Eggplant Rollatini with Goat Cheese and Pesto


  • 3 medium eggplant
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus about 1/3 cup for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup soft fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup basic tomato sauce
  • Generous 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves


Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Trim the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/3 inch thick slices, discarding the first and last slices from each one; you should have about 18 slices. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and brush on both sides with olive oil. Place over the hottest part of the grill, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning once, until soft and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes on each side; return the slices to the baking sheet as they are done.

Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper and arrange the slices on a work surface with a narrow end of each slice toward you. In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, pesto, and nutmeg until smooth and well blended. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on the narrow end of each slice of eggplant and roll up, not too tightly, like a jelly roll. Set aside.

Put the tomato sauce in a medium bowl and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt. Spoon the sauce onto a rimmed platter or small serving plates. Arrange the eggplant rolls seam side down in the sauce and sprinkle with marjoram leaves.

You can serve the eggplant now, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to allow the flavors to marry. If you chill it, remove it from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to come to room temperature.

* Serves 6