Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggplant Canneloni with Tomato Sauce

Pasta has become somewhat of a Sunday tradition for us; most weekends we prepare a batch of pasta dough and turn it into spaghetti, fettucine, lasagna, cannelloni, tortelloni, ravioli or some other sort of shape. This weekend we wanted to use a large globe eggplant (freshly procured from the Farmers’ Market), and our initial thought was a Joyce Goldstein recipe for Ravioli alla Melanzane. However, it seemed that we would end up with way too much filling for ravioli, hence the change of direction towards cannelloni. As with our other culinary endeavors, we each have a specific role to play: he makes the pasta while she assembles the cannelloni. Here’s what we ended up doing. The recipe makes about 4 small or 3 larger servings of cannelloni, with leftover pasta and tomato sauce that can be used another time.

follow the link for a detailed description of making the pasta
1 1/3 cups flour
2 large eggs

1 large eggplant
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
Dash of cream (optional)
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
½ large red onion
1 large tomato, chopped
1 500g package of passata
~1 tbsp capers
~2 tbsp basil, cut into chiffonade (plus more to garnish)
Red chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Cheese (any kind) for topping/garnish

Start by making the pasta: mix the flour and eggs in a food processor until they come together into a single mass, about 30-40 sec. Finish kneading by hand for another 30 sec or so. The final dough should be smooth, silky and not sticky - it’s better to start with a little less flour and then add more if the dough is too wet initially. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For the eggplant filling, prick the eggplant all over with a fork and roast in a 450 ºF oven for 30-40 minutes until soft. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast for 10-15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out from the eggplant skin and drain in a colander for about 30 minutes. Chop the eggplant and garlic into small, soft pieces, mix well with the grated cheese and season to taste. If desired, a little cream can be added at this stage. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. Finely chop the onion and fry gently in the oil over medium heat until soft but not brown. Add the chopped tomato and the passata; bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for ~30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of red chili pepper flakes. Towards the end of cooking time, add the capers and basil.

Preheat the oven to 375 ºF and set a wide saucepan of water to boil. Oil a 9 x 13” dish with cooking spray. To assemble the cannelloni, divide the dough into 4 and roll out each piece into a long, thin sheet using a pasta maker; keep the other balls covered with plastic wrap while you work. Cut each sheet into squares (about 5” long/wide).

Immerse the squares individually in the pan of boiling water until the float to the top, about 30 sec each. Drain the squares as they are ready, spoon a few tbsp of eggplant filling across the width of the pasta square, roll up into a tube and place in the 9 x 13” dish. Continue until all the filling is used up; as noted above, there will be leftover pasta which can be re-rolled into your favorite shape, ready for another meal.

Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the cannelloni and top with basil and a few slices of cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Garnish with more basil and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment