2 slices large rustic (not bagged sliced) white or whole-wheat bread, crusts discarded and bread cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 1¾ cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds large eggplant
Olive oil cooking spray
½ cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2½ cups purchased marinara sauce or speedy marinara sauce (recipe below)
Fresh basil, to garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and adjust the oven racks so there is one in the top third and one in the bottom third of the oven.
In a medium bowl toss the bread cubes with the oil and a pinch of salt. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the cubes in an even layer and bake on the oven's lower shelf until golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Transfer them back to the bowl.
While the cubes are baking, prepare the eggplant. Leaving the skin on, slice it top-to-bottom into ¼-inch-thick slices, discarding the end pieces that are mostly skin.
Spray the baking sheet you used for the bread as well as a second large baking sheet with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle the eggplant slices very lightly with salt on both sides and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Spray them lightly with additional olive oil spray. Bake just until barely golden, 16-20 minutes, switching the sheet pan positions in the oven after 8 minutes.
Add the red pepper, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic to the bread cubes and toss well.
Pour half of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking pan. Set aside.
Arrange the eggplant slices on a kitchen surface, overlapping a few if they are small to make a wider rectangle (you will need 12 portions total), and divide the filling among the portions, mounding it in the center of each slice. Roll up the slices to enclose the filling. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and bake on the oven's lower shelf until the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the rolls between 6 serving plates, making sure that each portion has ample sauce. Top with fresh basil.
Nutrition values per serving: 260 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated), 34 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 9 g protein, 10 mg cholesterol, 780 mg sodium.
Sara Moulton for The Associated Press