1/2 Tbsp D’Olivo ultra premium olive oil or D’Olivo basil olive oil
1 1/4 lbs unpeeled eggplant, cut into one inch pieces
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg beaten
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese freshly grated, plus more for serving
1 tbsp flat leafed parsley
1 (25.25 ounce jar) Marinara sauce
part skim ricotta cheese, for serving (optional)
1) Heat the oven to 375’F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray
2)Place 1/2 tbsp D’Olivo olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the eggplant and 1/4 Cup water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
3)Transfer to a bowl and add bread crumbs, beaten egg, Romano cheese, parsley, garlic and chopped basil into the eggplant. Season with 1/2 tsp kosher slat and 1/8 tsp pepper.
4)Form the eggplant mixture into 24 balls about 1-1/8 oz each, rolling tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
5) Heat the sauce in a large deep skillet to warm the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish the meatballs with basil leaves and serve with ricotta cheese if desired.
PS: You may drizzle D’Olivo basil olive oil over the meatballs before serving, eat them without the sauce and also love them cold out of the refrigerator. They freeze well to keep for an awesome winter meal!