Cannelloni are round pasta tubes. In this recipe, I substitute rolled eggplant for the pasta. Select eggplants that are heavy for their size. They should have shiny, firm skins without any soft or brown spots.
Eggplant Cannelloni with Bravo Tomato Sauce
From Bravo! Health-Promoting Meals from The TruthNorth Kitchen
• 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half widthwise
• Kernels sliced from 6 ears fresh corn, or 6 cups thawed frozen or drained canned corn
• ½ cup vegetable broth
• ½ cup unsweetened soymilk
• ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1 tablespoon blanched fresh tarragon, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
• 2 large eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
• ½ cup vegetable broth
• ½ teaspoon granulated onion
• 4 cups Bravo Tomato Sauce
• ½ cup sliced red onion
• 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
• 1 pound fresh spinach
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
To make the filling, steam the potatoes until fork-tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Put half of the corn and the broth, soy milk, granulated garlic, and granulated onion in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Spoon into the bowl with the potatoes. Add the remaining corn and the tarragon and whisk gently. (Whisking gently, rather than whipping, prevents the potatoes from getting gummy.)
To make the cannelloni, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the eggplant on it in a single layer. Brush with the broth and sprinkle with the granulated onion. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn over and bake for 3 minutes longer. Let cool. When cool enough to handle, lay on a flat surface. Spoon one-sixth of the filling on the end of one slice and roll-up. Assemble 5 more rolls in the same fashion (to make 6 rolls in all). Put the rolls in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, pour the tomato sauce over them, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
To make the topping, put the onion and garlic in a medium dry saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Arrange the spinach on top of the cannelloni. Serve hot or warm.
Bravo Tomato Sauce
The combination of fresh and packaged tomatoes gives this sauce the right flavor and consistency. If only fresh tomatoes are used, the sauce does not become thick enough.
• 1 ½ pounds Roma tomatoes
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 1 stalk celery, diced
• 1 shallot, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
• 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
• 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
• 3 cups chopped tomatoes, canned or packaged
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packaged and chopped
Put the Roma tomatoes in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Pour through a strainer to remove the seeds and skins. Set aside.
Put the onion, celery, shallot, and garlic in a large dry saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and the bottom of the saucepan are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, granulated garlic, dried onion flakes, and optional red pepper flakes and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and cook until the bottom of the saucepan is dry and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and strained Roma tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the basil. Serve hot. Stored in a sealed container, Bravo Tomato Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Chef’s Notes: The yield for Bravo Tomato Sauce is double that of all the other sauces in this book because it is used in so many recipes. I recommend always having some on hand.