Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni
500g broccoli, washed, florets and stalks chopped
500g white cauliflower, same as broccoli
7 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
25g tin best quality anchovies in oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
2-3 small dried chillies, crumbled (to taste)
500ml jar good quality passata sauce
good quality red wine vinegar
500ml crème fraiche
200g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
16 cannelloni tubes
small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
200g good quality mozzarella cheese (fresh ball or bocconcini)
extra virgin olive oil
4 large handfuls of rocket leaves, washed, and dried
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and drop in the chopped broccoli and cauliflower. Boil for 5-6 minutes, until cooked, then drain in a colander, reserving the cooking water.
Heat a wide saucepan, pour in a couple of good glugs of olive oil and add the garlic. Fry for a few seconds, then add the thyme leaves, anchovies and their oil, chillies and continue frying for a few secs more before adding the cooked broccoli and cauliflower with around 4 Tbsp of the reserved cooking water. Stir everything together, put a lid on the pan leaving a little gap, and cook slowly for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly – overcooking the vegies not only intensifies their flavour but gives you the texture that you need for this recipe. Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes to let the moisture evaporate, then use a potato masher to crush the vegies. Take the saucepan off the heat, taste the vegies and season carefully with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on a baking tray to cool. Meanwhile, get yourself another baking dish or roasting tray (the right size for fitting the cannelloni tubes snugly side by side) and pour in the passata with a pinch of salt and a swig of red wine vinegar.
Now, to make a really quick and easy white sauce: Mix the crème fraiche with half the Parmesan, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a little of the reserved cooking water to thin it down.
Spoon your cooled vegie mixture into a large sandwich bag and cut off the corner. Twist the top of the bag and squeeze it to pipe the filling into the cannelloni tubes (If you prefer, use a teaspoon to push the mixture into the cannelloni or use a piping bag if you have one). Fill the tubes up and place them in a single layer on top of the passata. Lay the basil leaves over the cannelloni and spoon your white sauce evenly over the top. Season with black pepper, sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and tear over the mozzarella/bocconcini. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling on top.
Dress the rocket leaves with a squeeze of lemon juice and about three times as much extra virgin olive oil. Serve the cannelloni with the rocket and some good crusty bread.