Cannelloni is my favourite pasta dish. I adore it, and make it whenever I can. I used to love it filled with egg and cheese and covered in parmesan, but I think my vegan version stands up to the test.
You can use bought pasta cannelloni “shells” if you like, but the recipe for the dough follows if you’d like to strike out and try making your own. It takes more time, but ts well worth it for the perfect al dente finish, not to mention the zen that kneading dough can bring.
Keira’s Favourite Vegan Cannelloni Recipe, makes 4 serves
Note: this works best if you have a rectangular baking dish about 33cm x 20cm x 5cm. You may need to increase the topping recipe if you have a larger, or two small dishes.
For the Pasta
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 350g tofu, crumbled
- 100g cheezly, crumbled
- lots of nutmeg
- one bunch kale (about 6 leaves), chopped finely and cooked (I boil it)
- 2 tbs nooch
- little soy milk
- 3 tbs Olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 -8 large tomatoes, diced
- 3 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tbs tomato paste
- sugar, salt and pepper as necessary
- In case you didn’t read the ingredients properly, now is the time to cook the kale
- Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees
- Start with the sauce. In a large saucepan heat some olive oil, then add onion and fry for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, and fry for another 5 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 15 minute over low heat.
- Add all other ingredients (save the salt and sugar). Bring to the boil, then return to slow simmer, lid on, for the time being (about 40 minutes)
- In a large bowl, or just on your bench, if you’re feeling adventurous, pile the flour and make a well, resulting in a volcano shape.I wrap a towel around my bowl, to stop it sliding around while I mix the dough.
- Pour the water into the well, and slowly add the flour into the middle, little by little, until all flour is combined with the liquid, and you have a loose dough.
- On a floured surface knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Rest the dough in an oiled bowl, covered, for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting make the filling. In a clean large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling together. This works best if you use your hands. Taste, and add salt and pepper and more nutmeg as necessary. Its the nutmeg that helps replicate the classic cannelloni flavour, so feel free to go heavy.
- Check on the sauce. If it is beginning to look right, take it off the heat. Taste and add what you need (I like a little sugar in mine, if it isn’t in the tomato paste.) If it isn’t ready yet, you know what to do – leave it on the heat. Its ready when it tastes good, and is thick enough to coat the spoon.
- Place about 1/5 of the sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, coating it in a thin layer. Don’t forget to fish the bay leaves out first, and discard them.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough in 1 or 2 batches, as bench-space allows. Roll out until the dough is about 3-4mm thick, in a rectangle shape, approximately the same width as your baking dish, and a double the length. If your dough keeps bouncing back, you need to let it sit longer before rolling.
- Starting at one end, place the filling mixture down the edge of the dough. Brush the dough with some water, and roll into a cannelloni shape. Cut along the edge to form a cylinder. Place the pasta shape into the baking dish.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. My dish takes about 8 large rolls, so I use one 8th of the filling for each one. This will depend on the size of your dish/es.
- Once all the rolls are in the baking dish, cover with the sauce, ensuring that all pasta is coated.
- Place the dish in the pre-heated oven, and cook for 35-40 minutes.
- Enjoy with an enormous salad.