There was a limitation in ingredients - I had some mince thawed - and tastes - 'Salina has definite views on her food horizons, as does V. They don't happily coincide at all times - isn't that life? I, of course, am very easy to please as long as it does not involve offal.
But I wanted to move us just ever so slightly from what we always have, so I made the brave suggestion that we have cannelloni.
V was all for it, but 'Salina had her doubts. After all, she hadn't heard of it and what is wrong with lasagne?
I made a pledge to make it as lasagne like as possible for her approval. So here it is for yours:
- I used my wonderful (but getting old and feeling it) food processor to grate 1/4 of a Jap pumpkin and to slice 2 zucchinis.
As you can see from this shot, it is not just my food processor feeling the age and space issue!!
And isn't that a wonderful yellow for the benches? Oh, and note to self - must get that door fixed and reattached - it came off when the stove we put in was 2cm too wide for the space we had measured. We only got the stove last June...
- Meat Sauce - Chop 1 medium onion and 3 cloves of garlic and gently fry until clear in olive oil. Add 1/2 kilo mince and brown. If mince is not lean enough, drain fat.
- Add the grated pumpkin, 1 can condensed tomato soup (my mother swore by Heinz but I have found generic works just as well), 3/4 can red wine, bay leaf, whatever italian herbs and salt and pepper. The mixture should look dark and rich and smell divine.
- If you prefer veggo, I used to make a similar sauce with no mince (d'uh), more pumpkin and whatever other vegies available, some red lentils and a handful of chopped cashews and called it "happy sauce".
- White Cheese Sauce - Melt some butter in a pan, add about the same amount of plain flour and toast slightly. Mix in about 600 ml milk - gradually at first to stir out any lumps. Cook until this mix thickens to about cream consistency. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and 1/2 cup cheese.
I know there are many foodies out there who would do a far superior job, but I have a limited audience and they don't complain too much!
I think there are theories out there about the temperature of the milk and the exacting way to get the "roux" - that is a fancy term for the butter and flour bit - just right - but I am fairly rough and ready.
- I sprayed a baking tray with oil and lined it with my wonderful zucchini slices.
- 1/2 of the White Cheese Sauce was poured in.
- We (because V came to help) stuffed the canneloni tubes with Meat Sauce and laid neatly.
Of course, I forgot to photograph that step, so you will have to imagine how neatly they were placed and how much fun that step is, and how fiddly the term "stuffing canneloni tubes" can really be. We had about 1/2 of the sauce left over, which will be handy for a kids meal when we want an adult meal later in the week!
- The other 1/2 of the White Cheese Sauce was poured on top, then the wonderful zucchini slices covered it. On one end we also had sliced mushrooms and sliced tomatoes also made a stand. 3/4 cup grated cheese sprinkled over the whole amount and put into a moderate-hot oven for 40 minutes.
- It was absolutely scrumptious - or to use 'Salina's preferred term - delicious.
- Improvements for next time (which there will be) would be to halve the White Cheese Sauce mixture and have a vegie sauce for the first pour.