For a while now, ever since visiting Italy, I've been wanting to make a dish that was rich and full of Italian flavour but without the refined carbohydrates. I invited a few friends over and they confirmed that this dish was a great success. Weeks later we all went for a walk and they were still going on about the food. I promise you, this is a goodie and it's super nutritious, delicious and both vegetarian and banting friendly.
Instead of using cannelloni pasta, I used the aubergines to roll the ricotta into. It does take some preparation time, especially if you have 8 dinner guests but it is really worth it. In fact, I recommend, you make a lot and freeze it to serve every few days. It was even better a few days later as the flavours had a chance to meld and form.
Ricotta Aubergine Cannelloni
4 medium to large aubergines
1 tub of ricotta cheese (almond pulp for a vegan and high protein option)
1 medium egg
2 tbs pesto (you can make this yourself)
2kg ripe red tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
Handful of fresh thyme
Handful of fresh origanum
Punnet of fresh basil (you can never have enough basil)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the aubergines length wise about half a centimetre thick. The aubergine needs to be thick so that it doesn't over shrink or break up in the pan. Fry them in olive oil until they are cooked and set aside.
Finely chop the garlic and onions and fry in olive oil on a medium heat until cooked. You don't want to burn your onions, you want them to be see-through. Next add the chopped tomatoes and take time to cook them properly. Adding your fresh herbs, thyme, origanum and basil. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes for your tomatoes to be properly cooked. The herbs must have softened and broken up.
Add about a third of the tomato sauce to your pan so that you have a pool of the tomato at the bottom of the pan and set aside.
In a separate bowl mix the ricotta (or almond pulp) with the pesto and the egg with salt and pepper. Spoon the ricotta mixture onto the cooked aubergines and roll. Place the aubergine roll in the pool of tomato sauce stacking them tightly next to each other.
Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cannellonis
Bake in oven at 180 for 40 minutes
Sprinkle nutritional yeast
Serve with a simple green salad with olive oil and lemon juice dressing....