Manicotti Rustica

As I was making these, I started to wonder what the difference is between manicotti and canelloni. It appears that in America the terms are generally used interchangeably, whereas in Italy, cannelloni are pre-shaped pasta tubes that are then filled, and manicotti are more like crepes that are rolled up with a filling.

These are sheets of pasta that are rolled up with seitan-tomato sauce, veggies and tofu ricotta. It’s essentially lasagna turned into rolls, rather than layered, and therefore it’s more work, but it’s fun to play around with different methods and presentations. I was pretty skeptical of the recipe because I generally find pasta with tomato sauce boring, but there was lots of flavor, with layers of texture, and we gladly had them again the next day. A couple of people objected to the mushrooms in the original recipe, so I substituted zucchini, cooked in the same way. It was great, but I think the mushrooms would have been delicious too.

I sprinkled a little bit of Daiya tapioca cheese over the top, but it didn’t enhance the dish much, if at all (Daiya can be tasty, but it also easily overpowers other flavors).

We’d absolutely have this again, and it would be an excellent recipe for a casual dinner party.

The recipe is on page 71.

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