Broccoli and Goat Cheese in Jumbo Shells
August 6, 2011
I am finding more and more alternates to cow’s cheese. By this, I do not mean fake cheese made from soy or rice products. We tried this when we discovered our family was allergic to Casein, which is a protein found in cow’s products (cheese, sour cream, yogurt…). We did not care at all for these ‘fake’ products. We just did without cheese and cheese products.
A few months ago, I found sheep cheese at an International Food Shop. It was quite pricey, but I thought I’d give it a try. Then I found goat cheese at the same shop. I tried that. It was different at first, with each cheese having it’s own distinct flavor. Then, it kinda grew on us. I liked the way it melted and I was able to use it in dishes I had not been able to make such as real lasagna or paninis or pizza with cheese that melts.
Neither cheese has any cow products. They are 100% Goat, or 100% Sheep.
The goat cheese has a consistency of crumbled ricotta and the sheep cheese has the consistency of Romano or Parmesan. Both heat well.
So, for those who are allergic to casein or cannot handle the cow’s dairy products, be on the look out for 100% sheep or goat products.
That said, here is the latest recipe using these cheeses…
This recipe has been adapted from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks Vegetarian: Over 300 Healthy and Wholesome Recipes Chosen from Around the World, consultant editor Nicola Graimes.
This cook book is one of my favorites because I can look through it and usually get lots of great ideas for dinners, lunches, breakfasts and desserts. The original recipe for today’s post is from the Main Course section titled Broccoli and Ricotta Cannelloni. I have adapted it to fit what was available in my kitchen.
I used what broccoli florets and stems I had, which turned out to be around 2 to 3 cups. I set them to steam on the stove and went looking for bread crumbs.
I found a few hamburger buns in the fridge. I tore them into pieces and put them into my blender jar. I then pulsed the bread until I had perfect bread crumbs, about a cup. Set bread crumbs aside.
After the broccoli was steamed until tender I let it cool for a few minutes then used the same blender jar I made bread crumbs in to blend the steamed broccoli. I pulsed it several times pausing to scrape down the sides until it was pureed.
I reserved the water used to steam the broccoli and added some more water to cook my jumbo shells in. You can use Cannelloni tubes (in the original recipe) or manicotti noodles. Any type of noodle that allows you to add a filling is fine. I had Jumbo Shells on hand.
To a mixing bowl I crumbled up the goat cheese and added the bread crumbs.
I then stirred in some kefir, the broccoli puree, and 4 tablespoons of the grated sheep cheese. I added some left over rice I had (which is optional, but a great way to eat up leftovers) and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I poured the spaghetti sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish and set aside. I spooned the broccoli mixture into the shells, then set the shells on the spaghetti sauce. I sprinkled the last of the shredded sheep cheese on top.
It’s ready for the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Broccoli and Goat Cheese in Jumbo Shells
- 15-20 Jumbo Shells
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup milk kefir
- 1/2 to 1/3 cup crumbled Goat cheese
- 6 Tablespoons shredded Sheep cheese
- 1/2 cup cooked rice (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups Spaghetti (or Tomato) sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease one large casserole dish.
- Steam broccoli. Let cool and puree broccoli in blender or food processor.
- In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, kefir and crumbled up Goat cheese.
- To the broccoli mixture, stir in 4 tablespoons of the sheep cheese, rice (optional) and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish.
- Spoon the broccoli mixture into your pasta (about 1 Tablespoon of mixture per shell).
- Set the filled shells neatly on the spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with remaining sheep cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Serves 4 – 6.
I actually had more broccoli mixture than shells. Since I had no more shells to fill, I poured some sauce in a small oven proof dish, dropped the extra broccoli mixture on the sauce and added some cooked noodles on top. Then sprinkled some sheep cheese on and stuck it in the fridge for lunch the next day.