Now that it's September, life around here has settled down enough that we were finally able to have my stepfather's coworker and his family over for dinner. While dinner guests are in themselves a fairly involved shindig in terms of planning menus, shopping and storing the leftovers (particularly when, like my mom, one feels the need to make 3 entrees for 6 people), I had the task of helping to plan an offering that was safe for the husband, who had gout. While a strict "gout diet" is not needed for most cases, I wanted to keep the purines low enough that we could avoid an attack later down the road. I had a purine table left over from school (purines are the precursor to uric acid which aggravates and furthers gout), and between my mom and I we crafted a decent menu that catered to my stepfamily's Italian palate as well.
Salad with my mom's standard oil-and-vinegar, crusty bread (white, sadly, since protein-rich bran in whole wheat has more purines), grilled chicken for the kids, chicken cacciatore, white rice and this cannelloni meshed into a low purine (although regrettably low fibre and very carb heavy) meal. Our guests also generously supplied dessert from an Italian bakery - an assortment of cannoli and bignes that looked (and from what I heard, tasted) so decadent you just knew hitting the gym the next day would be a must.
Thankfully, everyone but my stepbrother only had a single piece of this rich, cheesy cannelloni rather than the three a standard serving entails. I adapted the recipe from BBC's Simon Rimmer to make it a bit more gout-friendly while keeping all the flavour and as much nutrition inside as I could. Slightly tangy throughout thanks to chevre in both the sauce and the filling, it's lighter tasting than your usual pasta casserole, and I added just shy of half a bag of Cookin' Greens spinach (it comes in 500g packages rather than your standard 10-oz bricks) for a bit of texture. Low fat cottage cheese and yogurt rounded out the rest of the filling and the whole thing got topped off with shredded Mozzarella and a smattering of halved cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes were greedily snatched up by the two boys after the pan came out of the oven since they became sweet and gooey, narrowly avoiding burning themselves! While my mom was concerned that the kids wouldn't like the spinach or goat cheese, not a single complaint was uttered - in fact I heard "yum" (literally) more than once!
I'm sending this fantastic tubular treat ( ;-) ) to Ruth's event Presto Pasta Nights!
Goat Cheese Cannelloni
Makes 12 side dish servings or, four 3-cannelloni main dish servings
3/4 cup prepared tomato pasta sauce
10.5 oz soft goat cheese, divided
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
zest of 1/2 lemon
17 fl. oz 1% cottage cheese, drained
1 tbsp non-fat plain Greek yogurt
7 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh "lasagne" sheets, cut in half width-wise
1/2 tbsp olive oil
7 oz (about 1 1/4 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 oz (about 3 1/2 tbsp) finely grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a casserole dish large enough to hold all 12 cannelloni.
- In a small bowl, combine the pasta sauce and 2 tbsp (about 1 oz) of the goat cheese until smooth. Spread a third of this mixture on the bottom of the casserole and set the remainder aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the remaining goat cheese, thyme, basil, onion powder, lemon zest, cottage cheese, yogurt, spinach and garlic.
- Season well with salt and pepper.
- On each lasagne sheet half, spoon (or pipe through a piping bag or Ziploc) a line of the cheese mixture along the longer edge.
- Roll up pasta like a cigar, placing each finished roll seam side down in the sauce in the dish.
- Drizzle top of pasta with olive oil and spoon the rest of the sauce mixture evenly over top.
- Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes and Mozzarella.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until hot throughout, the tomatoes collapse slightly and the Mozzarella is melted.
Total Fat: 22.6 g
Cholesterol: 43.2 mg
Sodium: 1,074.1 mg
Total Carbs: 46.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.3 g
Protein: 41.2 g