Rinata's eggplant involtini: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 24

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Mo Perry
A delicate amuse-bouche
Rinata's eggplant involtini with goat cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and tomato sugo is perhaps the perfect appetizer. Light, delicate, and intensely flavorful, this is no heaping plate of deep-fried calamari or platter of bruschetta dense enough to render the bread basket redundant. This is what an appetizer was meant to be--a teaser to tickle the senses, awaken the tongue, and open the palate to the meal to come.


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Mo Perry

The eggplant is sliced thin, baked to a tender consistency, and rolled like phyllo around a cloud of goat cheese, garlic, and pine nuts. The garlic lightly infuses each bite with its aroma and delicate spice, and the pine nuts offer just the slightest bit of resistance before succumbing to the tooth. The involtini sit atop a bed of vibrant tomato sugo (an Italian term for gravy, juice, or sauce), rimmed with a bright, smoky paprika olive oil. The whole shebang is topped off with a dusting of grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of basil confetti. When you've finished every last morsel of the adorable rolls, go ahead and put that bread basket to good use sopping up the last of the sauce.

Rinata
2451 Hennepin Ave South, Minneapolis
612.374.8998
Rinata's website

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:


No. 25: Smack Shack's lobster roll
No. 26: Moto-i's steamed hoisin pork buns
No. 27: The Happy Gnome's MN game burger
No. 28: Patisserie Margo's zuppa englese torte
No. 29: Heartland's Kansas City strip steak
No. 30: Tum Rup Thai's Mee Kah Teeh
No. 31: Dolsot Bibimbap at Dong Yang Oriental Food
No. 32: Piccolo's Scrambled Eggs with Pig's feet
No. 33: Meritage's pommes frites
No. 34: Travail's Fried Chicken
No. 35: Hmong Village's stuffed chicken wings
No. 36: Cafe Maude's Now You Know
No. 37: Urban Eatery's Asian pork sliders
No. 38: Isles Bun & Coffee's puppy dog tails
No. 39: Surdyk's Flight's chicken báhn mì
No. 40: Sunny Side Up Cafe's Santa Fe Railroad French Toast
No. 41: Szechuan Spice's chicken with double chili pepper
No. 42: Dancing Ganesha's Chicken 65
No. 43: Bradstreet's Black Walnut Old Fashioned
No. 44: Wakame Bistro's Crazy Lobster Roll
No. 45: Brit's Pub Scotch Eggs
No. 46: Peninsula's chili tofu
No. 47: Annona Gourmet's balsamic vinegars
No. 48: Cocina del Barrio's jalapeño poppers
No. 49: Papa's Philly Cheesesteak
No. 50: Swede Hollow Cafe's caramel roll
No. 51: Thomasina's cashew brittle
No. 52: Patisserie 46's Rory Cake
No. 53: Il Gatto's Ravanelli
No. 54: Mandarin Kitchen's seafood and tofu hotpot
No. 55: The Inn's Polish Delight cocktail
No. 56: Gopher Bar's Coney Island dog
No. 57: Holy Land's hummus tahini
No. 58: The Sample Room's wild mushroom ragout on polenta
No. 59: On's Thai Kitchen Nam Thok
No. 60: Flamingo Restaurant's vegetarian combo
No. 61: Sea Change's Brioche Pain Perdu
No. 62: Haute Dish's "Steak & Eggs"
No. 63: Tremblay's Sweet Shop salt water taffy
No. 64: Bars Bakery's Turtle Bar
No. 65: Pizzeria Lola's Lady ZaZa Pizza
No. 66: In Season's fried oysters
No. 67: Cave Vin's steak frites
No. 68: Everest on Grand's cabbage and potatoes
No. 70: Surly Coffee Bender
No. 71: Quang's bun tom xao
No. 72: YoYo Donuts' maple bacon doughnut
No. 73: Cupcake's mini cupcakes
No. 74: Willy D's ribs
No. 75: Salsa a la Salsa's Fried Chocolate Truffles
No. 76: Anodyne's Artichoke Melt
No. 77: Origami's steamed duck
No. 78: B.T. McElrath's Salty Dog bar
No. 79: Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello
No. 80: Salty Tart Bakery's pastry cream-filled brioche
No. 81: Little Szechuan's bamboo tips with chili sauce
No. 82: Oceanaire's Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
No. 83: Aperitif's Nonni's Meatballs
No. 84: Christos's Saganaki
No. 85: Seven Stars' Sesame Bagel
No. 86: Hell's Kitchen Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
No. 87: Blackbird banh mi
No. 88: Tank Goodness chocolate chip cookies
No. 89: Sole Cafe's gal bee
No. 90: Porter & Frye's El Pelon
No. 91: Coffee News' fish and chips
No. 92: Bread & Chocolate's Fabulous Fudge Bar
No. 93: People's Organic Panna Cotta
No. 94: Sea Salt Eatery Crawdad Po' Boy
No. 95: Fuji Ya's Tofu Don
No. 96: Ike's Food and Cocktails The Weekender Bloody Mary
No. 97: Punch's Toto pizza
No. 98: Stockholm Pie Company's peanut butter fudge cream pie
No. 99: Dogwood Coffee Co.'s macchiato
No. 100: Al's Breakfast buttermilk pancakes






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