This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver, I changed a few things to suit my and my boyfriend tastes. Before you add the cheese it is a pretty healthy plate of food, and a great way to hide vegetables. However, the cauliflower is cooked, well, a lot, so I can’t imagine there would be much vitamins left in them. Cauliflower is cheap though, but if you like you could stuff the cannelloni tube with mince.
- One whole cauliflower, washed and florets chopped off
- 4 cloves of garlic
- A small bunch of rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- 1-2 tbsp of dried chili flakes
- 250ml of passata
- A splash of red wine vinegar
- 250ml of creme fraiche
- 100g of Parmesan cheese
- 8 cannelloni tubes (or as many as you can fit in your dish)
- A small bunch of basil leaves
- 100g of mozzarella cheese
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- A few leaves of rocket (plus more to serve if you’re having salad with it)
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
Start off by preheating your oven to 190 degrees, and bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower to the water and boil for around five minutes, then drain, but keep the water for now.
Next, grab a saucepan and add a glug of olive oil along with the garlic, finely chopped, and fry for a few seconds before adding the rosemary and chilies, fry for a few more seconds. Then add your cauliflower to the pan along with 4 tbsp of the water, but don’t throw the rest away just yet! Stir the mixture making sure you get all the lovely flavours coating the cauliflower, place a lid on top and then cook for around 20 minutes until the cauliflower is overdone, but not too mushy! Also, make sure you remove the lid for the last five minutes, as this helps the liquid evaporate.
Once cooked, season then mash up the cauliflower, lay it out on a tray, then let it cool.
Whilst you wait for it to cool mix the passata and red wine vinegar together and pour this into the bottom of your baking dish. To make a quick and easy white cheese sauce Jamie recommends adding half of the Parmesan grated into the creme fraiche, add salt, pepper, a little of the cooking water and mix well. I found that even though it tastes lovely and isn’t too heavy the appearance wasn’t pleasant. It looked as though it had curdled and resembled cottage cheese after baking.
Once the cauliflower has cooled it is time to fill the cannelloni tubes. You could use a piping bag, but I just used a spoon and pushed it down it with the end. Now, you should be generous here to get full flavour, and to make sure you don’t waste a thing. Once you have filled them all place them on top of the passata in a neat line. Then lay the basil and rocket leaves on top before layering on the creme fraiche, the rest of the Parmesan and teared mozzarella.
For the final touch decorate with the tomatoes and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Tip: The great thing about this recipe is it can be changed to suit many peoples’ tastes. You could add broccoli or carrot with cauliflower, or replace it all together. You could add fresh chilies, or remove them all together too. Try experimenting with different cheeses too, as long as it melts it should taste good.