Quickish Eggplant Cannelloni

Hi Fran!!!

I have had very little fish in my Mexican food eating experience, and your Fish Fajitas, sound and look scrumptious! Especially in light of the whole Lent festivities, would be a great opportunity to try it out!

I am really excited about this post! I prepared this dish about a week ago, but have been so busy that I have not had a chance to share it!!! But, it is a very non-Matina way of doing things. It is very much semi-homemade, which at times has its great advantages, so that you can spend the “cooking” time making it look fancy rather than slaving over the stove!

One of the key pointers that I wanted to share, was on cooking the eggplant. As you will see below, I have cooked the eggplant in the microwave… yes in the microwave. I am slightly conscious that you are judging me and absolutely horrified at the sound of me cooking anything in the microwave… but a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. Why on earth would you cook it in the microwave you ask? Save time and save calories. Eggplants absorb a ridiculous amount of oil in the cooking process, they work more like an oil sponge than anything else. This is the reason people hate cooking with it because things tend to get very heavy when cooking with eggplant. However, when plugged into the microwave for a little bit, it cooks it without firming up, and without turning to dry paper. In fact, whenever I make moussaka… (I know another dish that i have yet to post about), I always pre-cook the eggplants in this manner.

Second point I wanted to share is the tomato soup. I have found that there is a much greater abundance of delicious tomato soups than tomato sauces. I actually really detest ready-made tomato sauces, because they are never right – too oregano-y, too thick, too off… But ready-made tomato soups (the nice ones sold in tupperware, in the refridgerator section of the supermarkets) can actually be very very delicious, and if boiled slightly to thicken just enough, they make amazing pasta sauce!

Third point was around lightness of the dish. There are a lot of ways that this could have resulted in a very heavy execution, however, thanks to the eggplant cooking method, the cottage cheese, 1 egg, and very decreased amount of olive oil it is absolutely delicious without sending your scale up a couple numbers!

So there you have it, my cheating ways, because sometimes the dish would just take way too long to make if I didn’t cut corners! (and your dresses would not fit as nicely!)

Eggplant Cannelloni

Original inspiration from: Sewing the Seeds of Change

Makes about 4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 100 g goat cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250 gr baby spinach, washed
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper & salt
  • 500ml tomato basil soup (Or Fran’s from scratch)
  • 2 red peppers roasted
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup Panko flakes (or bread crumbs)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preparing the cannelloni: Cut unpeeled eggplants lengthwise into 5mm / 1/4″ slices. (Don’t use the ends, they will be too tough, save them for another meal). Cook slices in the microwave (about 3 minutes, I cooked them on high for 2 mins and then again for 1 minute), until soft and flexible. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Filling – make this while the eggplant is cooking: Place 1 tbsp olive oil in a pot and sauté garlic until fragrant. Add spinach and spring onions to garlic and cook until wilted. Turn heat off, and let cool. Carefully drain excess juices.
  3. Place goat cheese and cottage cheese in a blender, blend until smooth. Pour over spinach. Add beaten egg, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and mix well.
  4. Tomato Roasted Pepper sauce: In your blender, place tomato basil soup and add 2 roasted red peppers. Blend until smooth.
  5. Preheat oven at 180˚C.
  6. To assemble: Take 1 eggplant slice, place a large spoonful(generous 1 tbsp) of spinach mixture in the middle, and roll into a cannelloni shape. Arrange your cannelloni in a snug fitting single layer in a large baking dish (33 x 23 cm or 13 x 9 in). Gently spoon tomato pepper sauce over eggplant. Pour the panko flakes to thinly cover the entire surface evenly, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese.
  7. Place dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30. Turn up the temperature to 200˚C and switch oven setting to grill (or move dish to upper racks) and bake for 10 more minutes (keeping your eye on it). Take out of the oven, when the topping is golden and the sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Let rest of 10-15 minutes and serve!!
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2 thoughts on “Quickish Eggplant Cannelloni

  1. matinaki28 Post author

    Hi Lorena! Glad you like it :)
    Other ways that you could cook the eggplant are:
    1) grill (as you mentioned, and would add a nice smokyness – but you should brush it with oil to keep it from drying)
    2) lightly fry in a pan (careful not to add too much oil)
    3) steam

    Most importantly be careful not to overcook the eggplant, because as it cooks it starts to fall apart and then the cannelloni procedure will be very tricky

    Reply

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