Friday, 18 June 2010

Sweet Potato and Turmeric Cannelloni

NAME: _Sweet Potato and Turmeric Cannelloni

8 - 12 canneloni tubes, the hard store bought pasta kind
250g minced meat (beef)
100g sweet potato
100g sweet pumpkin such as butternut
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp tinned diced tomato
one small onion
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1 level tsp turmeric
1 level tsp paprika
1 medium carrot
2 stalks celery
bunch parsley
approx 100g cheese for grating
chicken stock powder
beef stock powder

Seperate the meat into two lots, one approximately 100g, the other 150g. Place in two small saucepans, place over very low heat to start.  Grate the carrot, finely dice the celery stalks.  Divide the piles in half.  Finely dice the onion, and crush the garlic.  Finely chop the parsley.  Peel and small dice the sweet potato and pumpkin, place in a third small saucepan, also over low heat.

The 100g of mince will become the filling for half the cannelloni - add one half each of the carrot and celery to this saucepan, add the paprika, add two tbsp of the diced tomato.  Add approximately one quarter of the chopped parsley.  Bring to a simmer, season salt to taste, and then set aside to cool.  Add the turmeric and 1/3 of the crushed garlic to the sweet potato and pumpkin, add the remaining 2 tbsp diced tomato and a level teaspoon of chicken stock powder.  Simmer until potato and pumpkin are soft, and roughly mash together with a wooden spoon. Salt to taste and set aside to cool.  (Both fillings use as little water as possible, just the bare minimum to prevent burning.)

Add remaining carrot and celery, chopped onion, and crushed garlic to the 150g of meat.  Add the 2 tbsp of tomato paste, 2/3 of the remaining chopped parsley, and some water to produce a bolognese sauce consistency, leave simmering while you prepare the cannelloni.  The water content of this sauce will be absorbed by the cannelloni tubes, softening them.

Fill half the tubes with the now cool meat mixture.  Grate approximately one third of the cheese onto the sweet potato filling and fold in.  Fill the other tubes with this mixture. Lay the tubes in a baking dish, I cut thin slices of pumpkin to layer the bottom of the dish so the pasta doesn't stick, your call - you could also use thinly sliced onion for extra flavour.  Pour the hot sauce over making sure it gets in all the spaces between tubes and slightly covers the tubes.

Grate the remaining cheese over the top and place in a 350 degree oven for around 45 minutes.  The cheese should start getting a tinge of colour and be well melted.

Serve with a crispy tart side salad, serve up one of each kind of cannelloni per plate.  Sprinkle the remaining chopped parsley over each serving.

I could have made the tubes myself but then they'd be soft and hard to fill, especially with a filling I left deliberately rough textured.  The flavours are all slightly tied together by key ingredients, but widely varied.  The cannelloni tubes serve to keep those flavours separate until you plate up, which is why they need to be packed close side by side and end to end in the baking dish.

Using powdered stock is a decision made because you don't want either filling to be sloppy, and if you wait for normal stock to reduce you'll overcook the fillings.  Also, normal stock won't pack enough flavour punch. Unless you make your own stocks and reduce them to almost pan glazes.

The flavour of the sweet potato filling is quite heavy on turmeric and tomato and garlic, because I find that vegetarian type food (yes I know chicken stock isn't vegetarian, but use one of the meatless ones if you like) is always a little bit bland.  With the added flavours, it's strong.  The beef filling is also quite heavy on paprika and the parsley which gives that it's flavour. And the sauce has garlic, onion, and tomato paste to keep it flavoursome.

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