Eggplant Caramelle with Gorgonzola Fonduta
3 pounds eggplant, peeled and diced
Salt, as needed
Olive oil, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 onion, small dice
3/4 cup drained ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Lemon juice, to taste
Finely grated lemon zest, to taste
Ground nutmeg, to taste
Your favorite recipe fresh pasta dough, or fresh pasta sheets
Gorgonzola Fonduta, for serving, recipe follows
Toasted pine nuts, for garnish
8 egg yolks
2 cups cream
8 ounces Gorgonzola Piccante, broken into chunks
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
For the eggplant filling:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle the eggplant generously with salt and let sit 30 minutes.
Drain well in a colander, pressing to remove any excess moisture, and then toss in some olive oil and black pepper.
Roast on a sheet pan until completely tender, and then transfer to a food processor.
Reduce the oven to 300 degrees F.
Puree the eggplant and then spread it onto the sheet pans before returning it to the oven to dry out.
The eggplant should deepen in color and become fairly stiff.
Meanwhile, cook the garlic and onions in a heavy-bottomed pan until deeply caramelized.
Stir in the eggplant puree and cook, 10 minutes.
Spread the eggplant mixture out onto a sheet pan to cool, and then combine with the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and some parsley in a large bowl.
Season with lemon juice, zest, nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
Roll out the pasta dough into very thin sheets, and then cut into 3-by-2-inch rectangles.
Transfer the eggplant mixture to a piping bag and pipe the filling down the center of each rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on either side.
Wet your finger and barely dampen the top edge of the rectangle.
Roll up each caramelle, starting from the bottom, until you have a tube.
Gently pinch the ends on either side of the filling and twist. (You are aiming for a “Tootsie Roll” look.)
Cook in boiling salted water until the pasta feels tender at the twist and the center is cooked but still with tooth, 4 to 5 minutes.
Warm the Gorgonzola Fonduta over low heat until smooth, adding a touch of cream if needed.
Drizzle about 1 tablespoon down the center of warmed plates, lining up the caramelle on top.
Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until light in color.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed pot, and then slowly whisk into the egg yolks, to temper.
Pour the cream and eggs back into the pot and cook over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Whisk in the cheese a few pieces at a time until incorporated and melted.
Remove from the heat and season with salt and cayenne pepper.