Tuesday, November 6, 2012

They're Messy but Oh Soooo Good! Eggplant Cannelloni

My sister Elyse in Ottawa, requested gluten free recipes. She and partner Mike are accomplished creative  foodies. These eggplant cannelloni are worth the effort.  Bonus - they are gluten free and vegetarian.    Hey Sista! this one's for you!

Make a large batch of these eggplant cannelloni and freeze for later.  
To serve 6...

2     large eggplant, sliced lengthwise, 1/4 inch
2     zucchini, sliced lengthwise, 1/4 inch and each slice cut in half
4     red peppers, skin removed after grilling and cut into quarters
2     large onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1     lb fresh spinach, steamed, excess water removed and chopped
5-6 kale leaves, stems removed, steamed, excess water removed and chopped
11/2 cups ricotta cheese
2     eggs, beaten
1/2  cup dried tomatoes, chopped
2    tbsp lemon juice

4     cups puttanesca sauce (see previous blog, under Cuisine-Italian)
1     cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat indoor grill* on high.  Brush olive oil on each side of the vegetables and grill until they have grill marks and are fairly pliable.  Set aside.

To make the filling:
In the food processor, place the spinach/kale and lemon juice and pulse until it is chopped.  Add the ricotta cheese, the eggs, dried tomatoes and pulse until the tomatoes are chopped and the ingredients are blended.

To make the cannelloni:

Two slices of overlapping eggplant, topped with zucchini,
red peppers, onions and filling - ready to roll.
In your 9" x 14" baking dish, cover the bottom with puttanesca sauce.  Have the vegetables and filling ready. Place one slice of eggplant on the work table, follow with a slice of zucchini, red pepper, and onion rings.  About one third of the way down, add a tablespoon of filling.  Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.  If you prefer larger cannelloni, overlap two slices of eggplant then continue with the other vegetables (one slice zucchini, red pepper, onions) and place a little more filling, then roll.

These cannelloni are ready for more sauce
 and a cheese topping

To finish the dish, add more puttanesca sauce to lightly cover the rolls.  Top with mozzarella sauce.  Place in the preheated oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the rolls are heated through and the cheese is melted and golden.  Remove from the oven and let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

*If you don't have an indoor grill, set your oven to 400 degrees.  Place the sliced vegetables in an even layer on baking sheets.  Cook until they are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and continue with the directions.

Change the sauce- instead of puttanesca, you could use marinara sauce.
Change the cheese filling - mix in some cottage cheese to the ricotta, add kalamata olives, add dried basil and/or oregano
Change the topping - add grated parmesan or romano to the mozzarella cheese.
If you have leftover grilled vegetables, you can continue making cannelloni or cut up the vegetables for a great salad or add them to a soup.
If you love your pasta, the vegetables could be rolled into cannelloni using pasta sheets.

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