But this cannellini cannelloni (I love saying that!) does disguise the vegies, should you need to do that. It replaces half the ricotta in the stuffing with whizzed-up cannellini or white beans and a good handful of cauliflower florets. Just think of all that extra vegie fibre and protein and flavour! They even make this filling even creamier and lighter somehow, so it’s like a hearty plate of winter stodge — but not. I also added some shredded and cooked Brussels sprouts, and a delicious shake of warming nutmeg. Yum!
To top off all this vegie-packed goodness, I made an instant sauce from a tray of my summer tomatoes from the freezer. As I’d roasted them with herbs and garlic before freezing, all I needed to do was thaw the block and whiz it in my food processor, to make a thick, richly coloured and flavoured puree.
Then I topped this off with some walnut and pepita chunks. That’s right — no breadcrumbs or parmesan. Just waxy-toasty-crunchy goodness (yes, this is a dish full of goodness). Even when softened by reheating in the microwave for my week-day working lunches, the nuts complimented those hidden nutmeg flavours so well, and still retained enough texture to contrast with the creaminess of the cannellini filling.
So yes, this winter winner (and it's still winterish here in Hobart) does hide the vegies — and it also made them even more delicious and fabulous, too.
My scribbles say I got this recipe from Donna Hay june/july 2012. If you have leftover cooked vegies like the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts (or broccoli or cabbage or silverbeet), this dish is really speedy to make. If you have a ready-made sauce like I did — even better; you’re barely cooking at all!
If you need to make a sauce, my notes from the recipe simply say 'combine 365 ml passata, 125 ml stock, S&P'. Presumably you'd heat and reduce the lot together to a saucy consistency. Sorry.
- Put about a third of your sauce in the bottom of your baking dish, saving the rest for the topping.
- Preheat your oven to 180.
- In a food processor, whiz up a drained/rinsed 400 gms can of cannellini beans.
- Add in 300 gms of ricotta (the thicker block stuff bought from the deli).
- Add about a cupful each of cooked cauliflower florets and shredded Brussels sprouts, plus a generous shake of nutmeg.
- Take a packet of fresh lasagne sheets (there were 12 in my packet). Place a couple of spoonfuls on each sheet and roll up, then pack the tubes into your baking dish on top of the sauce. This is where it all gets a bit imprecise. I had to cut the tubes in half to fit them in; use a second, smaller dish to hold them all; but then I didn’t need one of the lasagne sheets (I put it in the freezer for next time)!
- Once you’re done with all this juggling and jiggling, top with the remaining sauce.
- Roughly chop some walnuts and pepitas; enough to give a covering you’re happy with. Drizzle with a little olive oil; cover with foil; then place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the filling is hot. Then uncover, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are toasty.