I made this delicious dish last week and intended posting this earlier but I got waylaid with another headache....damn things!
The original recipe came from Sunset Menus & Recipes for Vegetarian Cooking. One of the gazillion cookbooks that my parents owned. I remember counting over 100 cookbook titles in the kitchen bookshelf. The funny thing was that Mum disliked cooking but loved to buy cookbooks, go figure.
This is my version
1 large eggplant
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Ricotta cheese approx 3/4 - 1 cup
(I used Rose's quick and easy method to make homemade ricotta)
oil or butter for cooking
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 handfuls of baby spinach, washed
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 eggs beaten
1/8 of a teaspoon of each, black pepper, salt and nutmeg
2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 clove of garlic, crushed, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1 cup of vegetable stock or water, fresh basil and oregano finely chopped, salt and pepper to taste. (I used a 500ml bottle of homemade passata or you could use a tin of tomatoes)
Cut unpeeled eggplant lengthwise into 10 to 12, 6mm / 1/4" slices. Save the small bits for another meal. Cook slices in a single layer in a large pan or griddle, till browned on each side and soft, use a little oil if necessary (the original recipe dipped the eggplant in batter then cooked). Set slices aside on a try till required.
Filling - make this while the eggplant is cooking
Melt 1 tsp of butter in a saucepan and saute garlic and mushrooms till soft, remove from pan. Wash spinach and then add to saucepan and cook till wilted, place in a sieve to drain. Combine in a bowl the ricotta, beaten eggs, parsley, mushrooms, drained spinach, half of the cheddar and parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg, mix well and divide into enough equal portions, for the number of slices of eggplant.
Meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce, melt the butter or olive in a pan (I used the frying pan I cooked the eggplant in), saute the onion and garlic till soft, add the tomatoes, stock or water, herbs and spices. Bring to the boil over a high heat and cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until sauce thickens.
Place a portion of filling across the middle of each slice, fold narrow end of slice over filing and roll up to enclose. Arrange cannelloni seam side down in a single layer in a shallow large casserole dish. Spoon tomato sauce over eggplant, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the dish and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Rather a pathetic looking salad I must say, with one lonely piece of beetroot!
As you can see from all the steps it is time consuming but well worth it, tastes fantastic!
You could assemble the cannelloni in advanced and then cook when needed. You could even omit the dairy and use a filling of beans or lentils or use tofu instead of ricotta for a vegan version.