Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meatless Monday: No-Noodle Manicotti

One thing I love about Fresh Picks is that they always send a list of recipe suggestions for the foods they've delivered. So even when I get something like kohlrabi and I have no clue what it is, I have a quick little reference sheet that suggests how to prepare it.

For a few weeks, I had some random ingredients piling up in my frige. I knew it was time to finally use them or lose them. I shuffled through all the FP's recipe sheets and found a common thread: the recipe suggestions all seemed to be Italian-esque. So I merged all the general ideas into one and created No-Noodle Manicotti! Unintentionally, this recipe is also gluten-free, so be sure to share it with your gluten-adverse friends.

The recipe I came up with is not one for a quick week-night dinner. It was a little more involved and took longer than most people want to spend cooking on a Monday evening. But the leftovers held up well. Four days later, I nuked the last of it, and thought it was perhaps even better than the first night (as Italian dishes usually are). So feel free to make this one on a weekend and munch on it all week. The quantities in this recipe yielded one 9 x 9 pan. We got about 4-5 servings out of it.

This recipe also uses some less conventional ingredients. But it also is easy to substitute. If you can't find kohlrabi, try cauliflower (which has a similar taste and texture, in my opinion).  Use garlic instead of garlic scapes; and toss in spinach in place of the amaranth.

1/2 white eggplant
1 kohlrabi
1/2 cup garlic scapes, chopped finely
2 cups amaranth leaves
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 cups cottage cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups mozzarella, divided
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, diced
5 large cabbage leaves
2 cups tomato sauce
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice the eggplant about 1/4" thick. Toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a pan at 400* for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side).  Chop into bite-size pieces and set aside when done.

2. Boil the kohlrabi for approximately 20 minutes or until tender; you should be able to easily poke it with a fork. When it's done, drain the water and rinse it under cool water so that it's cool to touch. Slice it in half and using a melon-baller, scoop out the inside. Toss the shell and chop the flesh into smaller pieces. Reserve.

3. In a large sautee pan, heat some olive oil and saute the garlic scapes. Add in the kholrabi and cook for a minute or two longer. Toss in the amaranth, parsley and tomatoes and cook until amaranth leaves are wilted.

4. While the amaranth is cooking, combine the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella in a small bowl. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper and oregano.

5. Once the amaranth has wilted, gently stir in the eggplant.

6. In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Salt lightly for taste. Gently place the cabbage leaves in the water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water, rinse to cool and drip dry.

7. Grease a 9 x 9 casserole dish, and pre-heat oven to 350*. Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the casserole dish.

8. Scoop 1/5 of the cottage cheese mixture into one of the cabbage leaves. Top with 1/5 of the amaranth mixture. Roll the leave up, like a manicotti roll and place seam-side down in the dish. Repeat until all the cabbage leaves are done.

9. Top with remaining sauce and cheese and sprinkle with fresh basil. Bake at 350* for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Bon Appetit!
The Food Whore

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