Summertime food mainly consists of salads and fish in our house but now and again I love to rustle up one of my Grandad’s Italian Specialties. You can use any veg, which makes this dish so versatile. Served with dressed leaves and a glass of Rosé it is one of my top Vegetarian/Vegan recipes.
Make a tomato sauce – onions, garlic, good tinned tomatoes or freshly chopped ones, rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and bit of sugar, basil and I like to add a tiny bit of chilli. Ideally put it all into the slow cooker turn it on and leave on low for a day. Although I sometimes cook my tomato sauces for three days! If you don’t have a slow cooker, or if you’re short on time, then passata is a good second best.
Choose any veg you fancy roasting. This time of year I use cauliflower, cavelo nero, spinach, broccoli, beans, garlic, red onion and red chillies. But you can also use squashes or sweet potato if you fancy. Give it a really good glug of rapeseed oil… Black & Gold, our local rapeseed oil is special beyond belief and I use it in most of my cooking these days. Add a good pinch of salt which is about a tablespoon of Malden sea salt, black pepper and any seeds you wish to throw into the mix; pumpkin, sunflower, flax etc.
Roast in the oven at 160c fan assisted for 30 minutes or until the veg are soft. Then remove and put all the veg into a food processor, add a couple of tablespoons of small capers, lemon zest and juice of one or two lemons, thyme, basil and parsley. Again any of your favourite herbs will taste great. Whizz it all to a rough chop. Get your cannelloni and stuff with the filling. It’s a hands messy job here. No other way!
Pour your tomato sauce over the top. If you want a vegan dish, just cook this in the oven according to your cannelloni timings (usually 40 minutes). You can add a Béchamel sauce – make your roux, adding single cream to the milk and about a dessert spoon of mixed spice or nutmeg for the real Italian version. Add grated percorino and spread over the top of the tomatoes. Bake for 40 minutes.
Eat and Love. It’s well worth the time… enjoy summer!