July 3, 2010

Cauliflower and broccoli stuffed manicotti

This is a recipe inspired by a similar recipe in Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook. As soon as I read his recipe, I knew I would have to try it. I am a big fan of both broccoli and cauliflower and they are both readily available locally right now. Plus, it's a good way to sneak a few more vegetables into your pasta meals (or for kids!). We had a few surprisingly cool evenings this past week, so I took advantage of one of them to make this (because I don't like to turn on the oven too much in the summer). This dish is a bit time-consuming, but my husband and I both agreed that it was time well-spent after just one bite. I did make my own white sauce, but used a good-quality jarred organic heirloom tomato sauce. You can certainly buy both at the store if you want or make both on your own - whatever you prefer. The recipe below is what I made. It will make enough for about 10 well-stuffed manicotti noodles, or about four to five servings.

Cauliflower and broccoli stuffed manicotti
manicotti noodles
about 1-1.5 cups of broccoli (stems and florets), roughly chopped
about 1-1.5 cups of cauliflower (stems and florets), roughly chopped
about 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 cup cream
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
about 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
about 1-2 teaspoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
about 2 cups good quality tomato sauce (chunky)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
about 1 cup fresh basil leaves
about 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
olive oil for cooking
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Add water, broccoli, and cauliflower to a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until soft. When soft, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or similar and place in a medium bowl. Bring the same water back up to a boil and use it to cook your noodles until al dente. Drain, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the water (add it to the broccoli and cauliflower bowl). Set the noodles aside in an even layer (so they do not stick) to cool enough to handle.

In a medium sauce pan heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, a dash of salt, and some pepper. Cook just until the garlic and shallots begin to soften (about 1-2 minutes). Add flour and whisk together, cooking for about 1 minute. Add cream and whisk. Continue to cook, whisking often until the cream begins to thicken. Whisk in about 1 cup of
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Then turn off heat and set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Add about 1 tablespoon of white sauce to the vegetable bowl. Using a potato masher and mash the broccoli and cauliflower until smooth, but still has some texture. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Add tomato sauce to the bottom of a baking dish (so that it covers the bottom and comes up the sides about 1/2 - 3/4 inch. Stir in red wine vinegar and a bit of pepper. Use your fingers or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off to add the broccoli and cauliflower filling to the noodles (get them really full!). Place the noodles in the baking dish in a single layer on top of the sauce. Add the white sauce on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Then add the basil leaves (tearing larger ones, if needed). Lastly, top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered for about 35-45 minutes, or until the cheese is all bubbly and golden. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.


  1. That looks so incredibly yummy! It's breakfast time right now, and this is still making me drool!

  2. Thank you! I think that the leftovers would make a perfectly acceptable breakfast :-)

  3. I am so pleased to see this on your site! I have been wanting to make this for months and months! I love Jamie Oliver's recipes and this one sounds heavenly! You have encouraged me to try it!

  4. Oh, Tracy, you will not regret it. It is so worth the time!


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