-1 largish bunch broccoli, chopped and stems thinly sliced (you want an equal amount to the cauliflower)
-1 head cauliflower, chopped and stem thinly sliced
– 7-10 cloves of garlic – minced
-3 to 4 dried red chilies
-1 can anchovies in olive oil
-1 box dried canneloni
-1 container good quality marinara
-2-3 Tbs balsalmic vinegar
-salt and pepper
-1/2 package creme fraiche (about 3-4 oz)
-shredded good quality parmesan
-fresh basil leaves (a small handfull)
-Gallon sized zip-lock bag
1) put the broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water. Cover and boil for about 6 minutes.
2) In the mean time, add a few good glugs (around 3 Tbs olive oil) in a very large pan. Over medium heat, saute the minced garlic. Do not let it get too brown. Add the chilies, ripping them into little pieces as you throw them in the pan. Believe me, it won’t be too hot (maybe mild verging on medium on an american hotness scale) unless you really can’t handle heat. This recipe really needs the chilies, so use one or two if you can’t eat even mild spicy food. Once the garlic is starting to soften, throw in the whole can of anchovies, oil and all. Stir everything up… this sauce will be ready when the anchovies completely disintegrate and the garlic just starts to turn light brown.
3) Using a slotted spoon or any type of hand strainer, fish out the broccoli/cauliflower pieces and throw them in the pan with the garlic sauce. Reserve some of the water, at least a cup or two for later. Raise the temperature in the pan to medium high, cover and let the whole pan cook for a few minutes. Stir the mixture every few minutes, add a small scoop of the reserved water from time to time if the mixture starts getting too dry. You may also need to add some additional olive oil. After about 15-20 minutes of cooking, the mixture will start to break down to a paste. Use a wooden or plastic spoon to smoosh down the mixture and encourage it to continue breaking down. Taste it and season with salt and pepper as needed, you want this to have plenty of flavor. Set the pan aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.
4) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. After the mixture has cooled down enough that it doens’t burn you to handle it, spoon it all into a large zip-up plastic bag. Using a pair of scissors snip off a good portion of the corner. It needs to be big enough that the filling can go through it easily, but small enough to fit inside your dried cannelloni. In another mixing dish, add your creme fraiche, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of parmesan, and some pepper. Mix and taste, add more parm or pepper as needed.
5)In a large baking/casserole dish, pour in your tomato sauce. Add the balsalmic vinegar and a few good pinches of salt. Stir it and taste. Add more vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar as necessary. Fill the cannelloni tubes with the mixture and place each tube down into the casserole dish. There should be just enough tomato sauce to just cover the canneloni once they’re all stuffed in there flat. Place the basil leaves on top of the canneloni. Spoon the creme fraiche mixutre on top of it all. Cut off some hunks of the mozzarella and place them on top. If you would like to make a healthier version of this, you can find part skim mozzarella or cut most of the dairy out of the recipe. It will still be very flavorful. You can also add more parm over the top of all this before covering it and placing it in the oven. The base recipe is very healthy without the dairy, how much you would like to add is up to you.
6) Bake everything for about 30-40 minutes or until the canneloni have softened. Uncover and set the oven to broil. Leave in for a few minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.