Friday, October 1, 2010

Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni

We got turned on to this Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni recipe last year from our CSA and were excited to have the right produce and the cooler weather to bake this really incredible dish.

We made a couple of substitutions from the original recipe.Mostly done for ease.

First off we used sour cream instead of creme fraiche,  I know they are not really the same but I can always find sour cream even at our little tiny Wegmans so we substitute them a lot.

The other is with the cannelloni tubes themselves. I can't bring myself to buy store bought manicotti shells or cannelloni shells, not when they are so darned easy to make. I had to look up what the difference truly is between the two other than manictti is usually stuffed with cheese and cannelloni is usually seen with meat.
This explains it really well. Apparently I have been making crespelle my whole life and I am OK with that. Crespelle are fantastic.

So on to the recipe. Really the pan is the key. I keep a pan around that I don't use for anything but crepes. I don't use a traditional specialized crepe pan, I've never owned one so I can't compare them. I use an 8 inch non stick frying pan with a very heavy bottom. You will need

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups water

Whisk together all three ingredients and set aside.

Heat up your frying pan and spread a very thin layer of butter on the bottom. I just run a stick of butter around the hot pan. This is where practice comes in, put one hand on the handle of the pan and pour in somewhere between a 1/4 and 1/3 of a cup of batter with the other. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup not filled to the top. As you pour you want to swirl the batter around in the pan until the bottom of the pan is covered. Don't worry if you have some little holes in the crepe. The crepe will be done when the batter fully sets and the edges just start to pull away from the side of the pan. Then flop the crepe out onto a clean kitchen towel and return the pan to the heat. There is no need for more butter after the first one, just keep repeating one at a time until the batter is gone. This recipe covers a 9 x 13 baking dish with no trouble.

Using these hand made crepes saves you the trouble of having to let the filling cool all the way and you don't have to use a piping bag. you can just spoon in the filling and fold over, lay them seam side down in the pan. and proceed with the recipe as normal.
I can't tell you how tasty this cannelloni is. The fresh basil really makes the dish, though last year we used fresh sage instead with equally delicious result. If you are squeamish about anchovies, well, get over it. In a dish like this they melt and disappear leaving behind nothing but a briny flavor that really adds depth to the dish.

If you want to make my family version of manicotti you can find the recipe here

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