Thursday, 11 October 2007

Cause We Can Can Can...nelloni!

It's just one of those things that, every once in a while, I consider becoming vegetarian. I couldn't do it while I still live at home, cause it'd be too difficult with my family, but there's very little reason I shouldn't when I go to uni. By choice, my diet is practically vegetarian anyway (except for chicken, which I have fairly often at home, but chicken doesn't count. No, it doesn't. Cause chicken has, like, feathers. And the definition of an animal is that it has fur. So... fish as well).

Fine, alright. I eat very little red meat then.

But other than a tendency to point out my own vocabularic mistakes (on the subject, I'm not entirely sure that 'vocabularic' is actually a word . But it sounds like it should be. Alright, it isn't in my dictionary, but that just shows the inadequacy of my dictionary. I've conceded to red meat; vocabularic stays) the main thing standing in the way of any potential commitment is just the fact that I'm sort of... hugely greedy.

I am the person who sits next to you at lunch eyeing your apple crumble covetously until eventually I abandon my self-control and demand 'are you going to eat that?' when it looks like you're about to leave. By now, most people recognise the phrase 'are you going to eat that?' as really meaning 'because I am'. We often tell my friend Boy, who is thin as a rake and eats twelve times the amount I do , that he is going to be obese when he's twenty-one (He'll just wake up one morning and be morbidly obese. I cling to this hope), but to be honest, I've a feeling it's going to be me ^__^.

Boy is vegetarian, incidentally, but I'm sure that's nothing to do with anything. Now shush.

So basically it's not that I especially want to eat meat a lot of the time. I just like to know that I can, should the mood take me.

This recipe happens to be both vegetarian and absolutely gorgeous. The problem being that it serves four, very precisely, and so should you be as greedy as I am, there are no bits left in the pan to scrape out afterwards (working on the basis that if it doesn't come off a plate, it won't make you fat. No, really, scientists have proved that. Why am I so unconvincing today?)

Mushroom & Ricotta Cannelloni
Adapted from The Aga Winter Cookbook
Serves 4
240 calories per serving (but I changed the amount of pasta used)
Says it takes far longer than it does, but I'd estimate about 40-50 mins, including cooking. I'll stay vague, and then if it takes longer or shorter I can just say, 'well you must just be slow/super-speedy', and people won't hate me. So much.

15g dried mushrooms (soak them in boiling water for 15 mins beforehand)
15g butter
225g brown-cap mushrooms, finely chopped
250g tub ricotta cheese
4 sheets fresh lasagne
2 x 300ml tubs fresh tomato sauce
50g grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
It also mentioned 1 tsp anchovy essence, which I missed out.

1. Drain and finely chop your soaked dried mushrooms. Lightly grease a large, shallow roasting dish with butter. You could use bakeaglide to stop it sticking but actually the butter helps you stick the cannelloni to the dish when it comes to it, so they don't unroll ^__^

2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, add the fresh and dried mushrooms and cook on a low-medium heat for 10-15 mins (here is where I admit I have an Aga, so that's the simmering plate to me. I don't exactly know the ordinary-oven equivilant) until they are beginning to brown and any liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.

3. Stir the ricotta cheese into the mushroms, add the anchovy essence if you want (I don't want) and seasoning, then mix until thoroughly combined. Eat quite a bit at this point out of scientific curiousity, should you so wish. Mmm.

4. The books says your fresh lasagne sheets should be 11.5 x 16.5 cm, but mine were twice that size. It also tells you to halve them widthways. Should you be using the smaller size, you don't wanna do that. That's just too small. Instead, use your 11.4 x 16.5 cm sheets as they are, or if they're like mine, cut them in half with some kitchen scissors. Place about 3 tbsp mushroom mixture along one edge of the lasagne sheets, then roll up to enclose the filling. You might want to sort of glue the edge with a bit of spare ricotta. Arrange the filled cannelloni seam-side down in the dish. You should get eight tubes out of it.

5. Pour the tomato sauce over (yeah, you do want it all) and sprinkle with all that lovely Parmesan. Huzzah. If you have an Aga, cook it on the grid shelf at the very bottom of the Roasting Oven; that's 190C to everyone else. The book says 30-35 mins but 25 was enough for mine. Keep an eye on it, anyway.

6. Serve it with a lovely green salad and garlic bread and tell yourself that it doesn't matter if you eat four cannelloni tubes yourself instead of two, since it's mushrooms and tomato, and they're vegetables.
Except actually tomato is a fruit.

Sorry about these photos by the way; it's getting dark insanely quickly here now that autumn's drawn in and it's impossible to get good natural light for pictures. This was the best I could do. Sadface.


Sophie said...

If you don't like mushrooms, what can you use?

The recipe sounds delish by the way!

Turq .x

Anna said...

Hi doll!!

If you're not bothered about it being vegetarian you could add about 200g pork mince or maybe a tin of tuna with a red pepper? Otherwise spinach I think would be good but I know a few people are a bit O__o over that.

Tbh though it's not an overly strong mushroom flavour (Eleanor wouldn't try it cause she knew it had mushrooms in, but if she hadn't known I think she'd have eaten it. But then again she eats kind of a lot, so that's not a very good judgement really...)