Eggplant Rolls with Spicy Tomato Sauce

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1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1 1/4-lb) eggplant
12 1/2 oz ricotta (preferably fresh; 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Make sauce:
Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Grill eggplant while sauce cooks:
Heat grill pan over high heat until hot.

Peel 2-inch-wide strips of skin from opposite sides of eggplant and discard. Holding a knife parallel to a peeled side, cut eggplant lengthwise into 8 (1/3-inch-thick) slices. 3Brush both sides of slices with 3 tablespoons oil (total), then season with salt and pepper.

Grill slices in batches, turning over once and brushing grilled sides with some of remaining oil, until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a tray.

Assemble eggplant rolls:
Stir together cheeses, 2 tablespoons basil, pepper, and remaining salt. Divide cheese mixture among slices (3 to 4 tablespoons per slice), leaving an 1/8-inch border along edge. Roll up each slice, beginning with a short end, and serve rolls topped with sauce and sprinkled with remaining basil.

Eggplant can be grilled using a gas grill. Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Grill eggplant on lightly oiled grill rack, covered with lid, turning over once, until tender and grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes total.



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