Stuff it! Cannelloni Gone Garden

The story behind this dish? I must confess, there are not too many twists and turns on this tale – the garden is in full belated summer veggie mode. With tomatoes, garlic, basil and zucchini at the ready, I was inspired to make a versatile dish. This recipe has so many options, you will be amazed:
diabetic adaption: substitute mushrooms for carrots and eliminate the pasta shells. The filling can be fried to make vegetable shrimp cakes or baked in an oven proof dish.
vegetarian modification: eliminate the shrimp.
lactose intolerant version: eliminate the cheese.
child-like adaption: with no recognizable vegetables on the plate, call this dish ‘Crabby Patties’ (alla Sponge Bob) for added appeal.

Bottom line, make this dish work for you. I think you will find the flavors are delectable for nearly any diet or palate. Manga bene!

Shrimp & Garden Vegetable Cannelloni

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb) green zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cups (1/2 lb) yellow zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 TBS white wine, dry
1 egg yoke, large
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs, not finely grated (or 1 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup ricotta)
12 cannelloni shells, cooked
3-4 cups tomato sauce **
2 TBS Italian parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions

Note: For best flavor, make the filling recipe, which immediately follows, one day in advance to allow flavors to amalgamate.

In large saute pan, heat 2 TBS of olive oil with garlic on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the hot pepper flakes into the oil and stir until coated. Add in the zucchini, carrot, salt and pepper and cook until soft and dry, approximately 15-20 minutes. Set aside on baking sheet to cool.

Using the same pan, heat 2 TBS of oil on medium heat with the sliced garlic until it starts to turn light brown. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and saute until opaque, approximately 2 minutes, do not over cook. Deglaze the pan by adding wine and scraping any pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan. Transfer shrimp to baking sheet with vegetables and allow to cool. Pour remaining wine in pan over the shrimp and vegetables.

Divide cooled shrimp and vegetable into two batches, pulse in food processor but do not puree the mixture. Transfer into a bowl. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste, mix well. Add the egg yoke, bread crumbs, ricotta (if using) and basil. The filling mixture should be dry and hold together. At this point you can refrigerate up to one day.

Cook the cannelloni shells according to package directions. (Be careful not to over cook the shells, as they will become too soft once filled and cooked in the oven.) Carefully remove the past with a slotted spoon, and place onto a prepared a tray. When pasta is cool enough to handle, cut each length-wise to lay flat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13 baking dish. Fill each piece of pasta with 1/4 cup of the filling, and make into a snug roll with a slight overlap of the pasta. Place pasta seam side down in baking dish. Repeat until all cannelloni are filled. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan, cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes.

Warm tomato sauce in sauce pan. Transfer cannelloni to individual serving plate, spoon sauce over top, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and parsley (if using).

Serve immediately!



Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce (Sugo di Pomodoro)

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Puree tomatoes in a food process or pass through a mill. In a large pan, on medium-low heat, add olive oil and onion. Cook approximately 10 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add tomato puree and salt. Stir well and bring mixture to a low boil. Do not allow sauce to burn, cook approximately 35-40 minutes until most of the water evaporates and sauce starts to thicken.

This sauce can be refrigerated one week or frozen up to three months.

Makes 3 cups.

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