Like the Summer Veg Lasagne it contains mashed vegetables, flavoured with garlic and anchovies, which have been overcooked to intensify their taste. I think I prefer this dish to the Summer Veg Lasagne as it includes a tomato sauce (as opposed to the all-white sauce of the lasagne) and a creme fraiche topping. After cooking this I stopped making béchemal sauce altogether as the creme fraiche white sauce in this recipe saves time and tastes fantastic. Torn buffalo mozzarella scattered over the sauce and baked until golden brown makes it even better.
This impressive, flavour-packed dish is definitely not a 30 minute meal but I have no hesitation in recommending it and if you enjoyed the Summer Veg Lasagne then I urge you to give it a go. It tastes wonderful, makes a generous amount and freezes/reheats well to be enjoyed later in the week.
The original recipe advises using 500ml of passata but passata tends to come in 700ml quantities and the extra 200ml does no harm to the dish.
Vegetable stuffed cannelloni
- 500g broccoli, chopped
- 500g white cauliflower, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- small bunch fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
- 25g anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped (reserve the oil)
- 2-3 dried chilis, crumbled
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 16 cannelloni tubes
- 700ml passata
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 500ml creme fraiche (half fat is fine)
- 150g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 200g buffalo mozzarella
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan) and fill and boil the kettle.
- Pour the boiled water into a large saucepan along with some salt and add the chopped broccoli/cauliflower. Boil for 5-6 minutes then drain into a colander, reserving the water.
- Pour a splash of olive oil into a large saucepan (I used the saucepan I cooked the vegetables in) and add the garlic. Fry for a minute then add the anchovies, anchovy oil, chilis and thyme. Fry for another minute then add the cooked broccoli and cauliflower along with four tablespoons of the reserved water. Stir well, reduce the heat and put a lid on the saucepan, leaving a small gap. Cook for around 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly and remove the lid for the last five minutes to allow the water to evaporate.
- Once the vegetables are soft take a potato masher and mash the vegetables until they are relatively smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow the mixture to cool.
- Pour the passata into an ovenproof dish that will comfortably house the cannelloni tubes (I used a 28cm square dish - if you're not sure about dish size put the dried cannelloni tubes into the empty dish to check). Drizzle over the red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt.
- Mix the creme fraiche in a bowl with half of the parmesan, a little salt and pepper and two tablespoons of the reserved water from the vegetables.
- Once the vegetable mixture has cooled, transfer it to a piping bag (or a strong sandwich bag with the corner cut off) and squeeze the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Stuff each tube well and place on top of the passata in a single layer until you have used up all of the cannelloni tubes.
- Sprinkle the basil leaves over the cannelloni then pour over the white sauce. Season with black pepper and the remaining parmesan then tear and scatter the mozzarella over the sauce.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the topping has turned golden brown.