Italy in the garden

October 3rd, 2007 § 0 comments

I’ve never been known for my “green fingers”. Every time someone offers me a plant that need a slight bit of attention, I can’t help but thinking “Oh no, how long is it going to last under my care”.
Yet, after three years in our house, me and my dutchie finally managed to made a garden out of our garden, with green grass, healthy looking and flowering plants and all kinds of herbs… a miracle.


For the veggies, we’ll have to give it another try next year though: out of my three plants of tomatoes and my plants of strawberries, I hardly managed to get a dozen of half eaten strawberries (damn snails!), a dozen of cherry tomatoes (at the rate of ~2 per month) and a dozen of roma tomatoes (out of 30 that just ended up rotting before even turning red… damn weather!).

Nonetheless, proud of my tomato harvest… my little head started boiling with ideas of beautiful tomato salads to present my very own tomatoes to the world (or let’s say the maximum I could feed with my dozen of tomatoes: my dutchie and a close group of friends… ). Before settling on a final recipe, I thought I should at least try one tomato… What a disappointment: with the lack of sun this summer, it must really have been a struggle to get to maturity. The flavour was there, but the structure was terrible (what we would call “farineuse” in french, literraly ‘”floury”). Bye bye salads! my tomatoes were only good for a tomato sauce. A great tomato sauce though, with herbs from the garden as well of course….


Canneloni with fresh tomato saus
Canneloni aux tomates du jardin

serves 4. prep: 15 min cook: 15 min + 35 min

16 cannelonis
8 Roma tomatoes (that’s all I had)
400g minced beef
100g minced pork
small oignons
1 small clove of garlic
a small handful parsley
a few twigs of thyme
1 twig of rosemary
1 laurier leave
4 Tsp olive oil
5cl red wine
3 Tsp freshly grated parmeggiano
a pinch of cayenne chilipepper
sea salt, pepper

Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Wash and peel the oignons. Chop 1 1/2 thinly. Press the remaining half with a garlic press. Chop half of the thyme and rosemary thinly. Put the minced meat in a bowl, add a third of the chopped oignons, the pressed oignon, the parsley, and the chopped rosemary and thyme, season with sea salt and pepper and mix alltogether with your hands. Reserve.

Set some water to boil in a large pan and in a smaller one. In the larger pan cook the cannelonis for three minutes in the boiling water. Then rince in cold water to stop the cooking. Add a few drops of olive oil to prevent them sticking to each other. Reserve for later.

Wash the tomatoes and plunge them for 1 min in the boiling water in the remaining pan. Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop them. Blend the tomatoes for 30s with 1Tsp olive oil. Sauteed the oignons and pressed garlic clove briefley with 1Tsp of olive oil in a cooking pan. Add the blended tomatoes, and remaining herbs. Season with sea salt, pepper and cayenne chilipepper. When it gets to boil, add the wine and lower the fire. Leave to reduce for 15min.

In the meantime, fill the cannelonis with the minced meat and lay them in a large oiled oven dish. When it’s done pour the tomato sauce over the cannelonis. Cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 35 min. Remove the foil 10min befor the end.  Sprinkle the grated parmeggiano over the dish and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

nb. I prefer to use minced veal but it’s hard to find at the supermarket in holland and my butcher was closed.
nb2. You might wonder why I only add the cheese at the end… Well, for the simple reason that my dutchie cannot stand cheese (damn it!). I am condemned to add the cheese in my own plate or to make sure his part remains absolutely cheese-free. I was however very happily surprised by the result. I loved the taste of the freshly grated cheese on the cannelonis.

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