Herb Cannelloni with Vegetable Filling, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

I know I have said it before but I say it again, one of the great advantages of living here in Italy is the climate that allows me to grow fresh herbs outside my kitchen door and the fact that most of them are there to pick during the winter months. To me that is a great luxury even though this year’s draught have killed some of my herbs, but still, I have sage and rosemary, lavender, bay and mint and that is enough right now, the rest I can buy and in spring I will plant more. We all know the marvels herbs make to a dish, how they add dimension and flavour to the most insipid creations and I think we are many who cannot do without them. So this is for you, a pasta dish that rotates around herbs! You need to work a little but it is definitely worth it and I think it is a perfect dish for a lunch or dinner with good friends or family that you want to pamper a bit!

Herb Cannelloni with Vegetable Filling, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

4 servings

herb cannelloni:
400 ml/1,7 cup pasta flour (i.e. durum flour milled for pasta making)
4 abundant tblsp fresh herbs, finely chopped. I used rosemary, sage and parsley
1 large egg
1 large pinch of salt

2 large zucchini
1 large eggplant
1 small red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
15 large black olives
extra-virgin olive oil

tomato sauce

– Mix flour, herbs and salt well before adding the egg. Mix well and then start adding water little by little until you have an elastic dough. Leave it to rest.
– Dice the vegetables and fry them gently with the garlic in olive oil until golden.
– Chop the olives and add to the vegetables, add salt if needed.
– If you have a pasta machine, work the dough in it and finish by making long sheets of pasta on the second but thinnest thickness. Always dust abundantly with flour.
If you work by hand, roll out the dough into a very thin large sheet with a rolling pin and cut it into strips 6-7 cm/2,3-2,7 in wide.
– Cut the pasta strips/sheets into rectangles about 8-9 cm/3,1-3,5 in long and drop them into boiling salted water. Add a little oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together for 3 minutes. It’s easiest to boil about 2-3 at a time.
– Spread out the pasta on a dry kitchen towel.
– Place the pasta on a cutting board and put a tablespoon of vegetables in the middle of each rectangle and then roll them into tubes.
– Now you have a choice, if you do it the easy way, you put the cannelloni in a greased oven-proof form, add tomato sauce and then cover with a layer of thin slices of mozzarella.
If you choose to do the way I have done it in the photos you take four smaller, portion sized, and greased oven-proof forms, put a layer of tomato sauce in each and then you tie each pasta tube together with straws of chives and place them standing up in the forms. Pack the cannelloni close together, spoon more tomato sauce between them and place a piece of mozzarella into or on top of each tube.
– Bake in a pre-heated oven (200°C/390°F) for 15-20 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted and it is golden.

Herb Cannelloni with Vegetable Filling, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

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