This is a delicious combination.
I have been very lucky this week. I have an allotment big enough to grow lots of vegetables. However, I don’t have an asparagus bed… but one of my neighbouring allotmenters has gone on holiday, and asked me to pick (and use) all the asparagus that grows in his asparagus bed for a whole week …. 🙂 and it grows very fast!
I am, apparently, doing him a favour, because you need to keep picking it for more asparagus to grow. Unexpectedly, I therefore have a barrow-load of asparagus on my hands, which most of us can only ever dream of! Makes me think I must must MUST cultivate an asparagus bed…
So. I guess its asparagus week. 🙂
This recipe does use a lot of asparagus, which, if you don’t have and don’t want to buy, can be largely replaced with broccoli or cauliflower. It’s incredibly delicious either which way….even though I say so myself ! Savoury, rich and creamy. There’s a bit of faff involved, but here’s how to minimise it:
When people talk about filling cannelloni tubes, they usually mention spoons, spatulas and piping bags, suggestions which, as far as I’m concerned increase the faff ten-fold, and invoke a stream of vows never to do cannelloni again. Ever. Ridiculous idea. Filling a cannelloni tube with a spoon? Impossible! What were the Italians thinking of?????
So, my suggestion is to use your hands. When the filling mix is cool enough to handle, wash your hands (goes without saying 🙂 ) and then plunge a cannelloni tube into the filling mix and just push the filling into the tube with your fingers. Repeat until all tubes are filled. Works a treat! ;O)
Hope you enjoy.
MUSHROOM AND SPINACH CANNELLONI IN AN ASPARAGUS SAUCE
for 4 -6
16 tubes of dried cannelloni pasta ( about 200gms.)
- 400gms. mushrooms of your choice
- 1 medium white/ or yellow onion
- 100 gms. spinach
- 5 garlic cloves
- 40gms. tomato puree
- 1.5 tbs. tamari / soy sauce
- 1.5 tsps. salt
- 1.5 tsps ground black pepper
- 100ml. water
- 15 gms. parsley
- 2-4 tbs. olive oil
- *400gms. asparagus OR 400gms. washed and chopped broccoli / or cauliflower
- 500ml. water
- 1-1.5 tsps. salt
- 1-1.5 tsps. ground black pepper
- 250ml. oat cream / or soy cream
- 100gms. of thin asparagus
- 1-2 tomatoes to garnish (approx. 200gms.)
- 5 gms. fresh basil
- 5 gms. fresh parsley
- drizzle of olive oil
Mushroom / spinach filling:
- Roughly chop the mushrooms.
- Place mushrooms in a food processor and process until very finely-chopped using pulse button.
- Peel and finely dice onion.
- Peel and crush garlic cloves.
- Wash and chop spinach into thin ribbons.
- Finely chop 15 gms. parsley.
- In a deep-sided pan, on a high heat, add 2 tbs. olive oil.
- Sauté onions for 5 mins.
- Add crushed garlic. Sauté for 1 min.
- Add finely chopped mushrooms. Sauté 3-5 mins.
- Add extra oil as necessary.
- Add tomato puree, 100ml. water, and chopped spinach.
- Stir to combine.
- Cook for a further 2 mins. until spinach has wilted.
- Add fresh finely-chopped parsley.
- Add tamari/soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. The tamari/soy gives it a really nice tang.
- Stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 – 20 mins. or so.
- Wash and trim 400gms asparagus, (*or chopped broccoli or cauliflower heart)
- Place in a saucepan with 500 ml. water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently, covered, until the *asparagus is tender. (10 mins. or so).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
- Place the *asparagus, the cooking water, 1 tsp. salt and 1tsp. ground black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add oat/or soy cream to blender and blend until smooth and combined.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. I added extra salt and pepper.
Bring everything together:
- Pre-heat oven to Gas Mk. 5 / 190C
- Finely chop 5 gms. fresh basil and 5 gms. fresh parsley.
- Finely slice the tomatoes.
- Wash and trim 100gms. asparagus.
- Take a baking dish big enough to lay out the cannelloni tubes in a single layer. The dish I used measures 30cm x 25cm.
- Lightly grease the dish with olive oil.
- Pour 3/4 of the asparagus sauce into the dish. (for me, this was 750ml.).
- When the mushroom/spinach filling is cool enough, fill the 16 cannelloni tubes one by one, and lay them horizontally in rows in the sauce, (see photos).
- Pour the remaining sauce carefully over the tubes.
- Take 100gms. of washed and trimmed asparagus and scatter over the cannelloni.
- Slice the tomatoes thinly and lay them over the asparagus.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and finely chopped basil and parsley.
- Drizzle lightly and evenly with olive oil.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 40-45 mins. until bubbling.
- Remove from oven and leave to stand for 2 -3 mins.
Serve with a nice crunchy salad, or steamed vegetables of your choice….
more to come
any other ideas?