Cannelloni with cauliflower and romanesca
I can’t remember when I decided to make this dish; I think I had seriously bought too much vegetables while at the market and simply was looking for ways to use it all before it would go bad. We have the entire series of Jamie at Home on DVD and we love to watch him cook up a storm with all the goodies from his own garden. In the episode that featured this amazing cannelloni Jamie used cauliflower and broccoli but you can use any type of cabbage that you like. I happened to have cauliflower and romanesca in the fridge so those were the two varieties I used.
While making this I was a bit hesitant if it would be good. The whole filling of the cannelloni did not go exactly according to plan (but let’s face it; a lot of stuff I try to cook doesn’t particularly go to plan… 🙂 ) I put the hot stuff in a piping bag but I think it was slightly too thin. I got it in on the one end of the cannelloni and it came right out the other end straight away. Well, the liquid stuff came out, the firmer stuff stayed in and did not want to move beyond the middle of the cannelloni… 🙂 The solution wasn’t too hard though and in the end I managed to stuff each and every single cannelloni and put them in my ovendish.
Because it takes quite a while for the dish to finish in the oven we were quite hungry by the time the food was ready to be eaten, so unfortunately just a few quick snaps. I could not persuade Tom to wait any longer before diving in and eating this delicious dish. Despite the fact that there is no meat involved here other then a little bit of ansjovis Tom loved it and so did I. You can add meat if you want but you really don’t have to as the flavour and texture are more then satisfying.
This is definitely gonna be one of those dishes we will be making again and again and again in all sorts of varieties!
- seasalt black pepper
- 500 gr romanesca washed and chopped into pieces
- 500 gr cauliflower washed and chopped into pieces
- 7 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced thinly
- a sprig of fresh thyme just the leaves
- 1 can of 25 gr ansjovis in oil of the best quality that you can find drained and chopped, keep the oil separate
- 2 to 3 small dried spanish chili's
- 5 dl of tomatoesauce of good quality
- red wine vinegar of good quality
- 5 dl of creme fraiche
- 200 gr parmezan finely grated
- 16 tubes of cannelloni
- a small bunch of fresh basil just the leaves
- 200 gr mozarella of good quality
- extra virgin oliveoil
- 4 large handfuls of rocket washed and dried
- 1 lemon
Preheat the oeven to 190°C. Bring a large pan salted water to the boil and add the cauliflower and romanesca. Boil the vegetables for about 5 to 6 minutes untill they are done, leave to drain in a colander and catch the draining water in a bowl.
Put a large pan on the fire, add a couple of tablespoons of oliveoil and add the slices of garlic. Leave to fry for a couple of seconds, add the thyme, ansjovis and chili's and bake them for another couple of seconds before adding the boiled cauliflower and romanesco to it with about 4 tbsp of cooking liquid. Stir everything well, put the lid on the pan and leave to softly boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. By cooking the vegetables through you not only make the taste more intense but you also achieve the structure you need for this dish.
Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of boiling to evaporate some of the liquid and mash the vegetables with a potatoemasher. Remove from the stove and add pepper and salt to taste. Spread the mixture on a baking tray to cool. In the meantime prepare an ovendish or baking tray that is large enough to fit all the cannelloni you want to put in next to each other. Test this by actually lying them in the dish. Put the can of tomatosauce with a bit of salt and a bit of redwine vinegar.
To make a really quick bechamelsauce mix the creme fraiche with half of the parmezan, bring the mixture to taste with salt and pepper and thin it a little with some cooking liquid from the vegetables.
Put the cooled down cauliflower-romanesco mixture into a big plastic bag and cut the corner of. Twist the top of the bag so it closes and put the filling into the cannelloni through the tip of the piping bag. (alternatively you can use a teaspoon but that is much more hassle) Make sure the tubes are really full and put them in a single layer into the baking dish on top of the passata. Put some basil leaves on top of the cannelloni and add a layer of the white sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and with the rest of the parmezan cheese. Add some bits of mozarella on top and to finish it off sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil over the top and then put in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or untill it is golden and bubbly.
Dress the rocket with a bit of lemon and about three times as much olive oil. Serve the cannelloni with the rocket and crusty bread.