Feeling inspired by a recent Vegan Dad post about pumpkin-filled manicotti (like giant penne that you stuff then bake in the oven/ similar to cannelloni), I decided to wing my own manicotti concoction. I made some tofu ricotta from Veganomicon that I've been wanting to try for ages, finely chopped cremini mushrooms, and had the mr. grate a carrot and dice a little cauliflower then everything together. After boiling the manicotti for four minutes as suggested, we stuffed the manicotti with the mixture, I poured some jarred tomato sauce on it, and threw it in the oven for 45 minutes. Then I had a quick glance at About's Italian food section which imparted the following wisdom:
The one thing you do have to remember is to make sure that the sauce you pour over the cannelloni once you have arranged them in the baking dish is somewhat more liquid than what you would normally use for pasta, because it will thicken in the oven.
But it was too late, they were already in. 45 minutes later, they came out, and the pasta was crunchy from being dried out, burnt on the bottom in parts, and the mixture was bland. The sauce did indeed thicken, plus there just hadn't been enough of it to begin with. It really got me down for a while, but as the mr. pointed out, "if you're not making mistakes you're not learning" etc.
Anyway, I think manicotti is definitely worth another shot, perhaps in cannelloni form since I have some lasagna noodles I can use. They just need a heck of a lot of watered-down sauce poured all over them to make sure they don't dry out like this time. Also, since tomato season is no more, I might try it with some kind of nut-based vegan alfredo sauce. As for imparting flavor, options include some garlic I roasted today, left-over thyme leaves, and of course, plain old spices.