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Old 08-19-2019, 01:27 PM   #1
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CANNELLONI - my go to favorite pasta recipe!

THE PASTA:

Some Italian food lovers would choose to make their own fresh pasta for this dish, or cut & roll up fresh pasta sheets - the ones generally used for making lasagna, but I almost always take the simple route of using a box of store-bought, so-called 'oven-ready', cannelloni tubes.

These are 'hard' out of the box and can easily break up/splinter if not carefully handled, so one should parboil them first for approx. 2 minutes max - so that they soften up a bit, but are still firm enough to retain their shape and are easily stuffed with the filling, and will be of the right consistency upon baking.

A box of these cannelloni tubes contains at or near 2 dozen pieces, which is roughly the number this recipe will make.

After stuffing, any tubes unused that day can be frozen for later use when their taste will be every bit as good as the fresh ones.

All one needs to do is to fresh make a bechamel sauce each time you use any from the frozen batch.


THE FILLING - Ingredients you'll need:

To be sauteed:

- Approx. 1/2 lb. each of spicy (or mild) italian sausage meat, and ground beef (or pork if you prefer).

- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion or shallot.

- 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped.

- 1 Tbspn. tomato paste.

- 1/2 cup white wine (optional).

- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds/ribs removed & finely chopped.

- 1 tspn. dry oregano.

- 1/2 tspn. powdered nutmeg.

- Large pinch of sugar

- Some olive oil.


In a large saucepan over medium heat, add a tbspn of olive oil & saute the diced onions (or shallots) for 1-2 minutes, add the diced garlic & fry for another minute, then gradually add the meats and saute until cooked through, while occasionally breaking up the meat with a potato masher to ensure uniform small ground consistency.

Then add the white wine, if using, along with the tomato paste, the diced jalapeno pepper, the oregano, the nutmeg, and the sugar - mix all ingredients well while saute-ing for a further 5 minutes or so.
Remove from heat, drain through a sieve to remove excess fat/liquids, and allow to cool.



To be added cold in a large bowl along with the above mixture after it has been cooked, drained and cooled:

- 1 -500 gram tub of ricotta cheese, preferably creamy full fat.

- 1/2 cup of coarsely grated provolone ( or substitute gruyere, swiss, cheddar, - whatever cheese you have on hand or prefer).

- 1/3 - 1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan).

- 2 Tbspns. Cream Cheese.

- 1/3 - 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn apart.

- 1/2 small tin or jar of marinated & quartered artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped.

- 1 egg, for binding


Mix all ingredients well together to form the completed filling for the cannelloni tubes.
If the mixture seems too heavily 'dryish', mix in a little milk or cream to soften/moisten & better facilitate filling the tubes.

Use a piping bag for filling each tube, or a ziplock bag with a hole cut into the bottom corner for piping, or just use your fingers like I do - works just as fast and well.


The simple Bechamel Sauce:

Ingredients:

In a small to medium-sized saucepan over medium heat:

- Melt 1 Tbspn. butter.

- Add 2 tspns. flour & whisk together well till bubbling.

- Add 1/4 tspn. each of white pepper and ground nutmeg.

- Begin gradually adding 2/3 to 1 cup, or more, of milk, whisking well as the sauce thickens somewhat - approx. 2-3 minutes or so.

- Gradually add approx. 2/3 cup coarsely grated provolone or other good melting cheese of your choice, along with approx. 1/2 cup finely grated romano, or parmesan cheese, and whisk in until melted and well blended.

The finished white sauce needs to be quite watery, in order to remain of this consistency, more or less, as a finished baked product, with no curdling.

The sauce consistency should be no thicker consistency than say, heavy cream, or even slightly less so.

If it is not, add milk & whisk till that consistency is achieved. This is important. Allow to cool.

Baking:

Line up rows of filled cannelloni tubes, closely side by side, as many as you wish to bake in an oven-proof corning ware casserole dish of the size needed for the number of cannelloni you're baking.

Completely cover the cannelloni with the bechamel sauce, adding more milk or cream if need be, and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of grated romano cheese over top of the sauce.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so, & then finish by turning on the broiler for 2 minutes or so to nicely brown the topping of romano cheese.

ENJOY !

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Old 08-19-2019, 05:18 PM   #2
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The recipe's description looks yummy! Will have to try it out. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:03 PM   #3
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The recipe's description looks yummy! Will have to try it out. Thanks for sharing it!
Thanks. I'm fairly certain you won't regret trying it - it is truly yummy !

At least that's what my guests say - as I mentioned in my introduction to this forum - a couple of my dinner guests have actually said it's 'to die for'.

I usually make a big batch, freeze a bunch of them, and I can't help but be tempted to bake some about twice a month.

Keep in mind though, that it's important for the béchamel sauce to be somewhat runny - you don't want a too thick, 'globby' finished product after baking.

Variations:
- I've made this recipe using a light red vodka tomato sauce (or made with white wine);
- or a combination of: mainly the white sauce, with a bit of red sauce covering the bottom of the dish, and streaks of red sauce drizzled through the white sauce on top. Looks very appealing when finished.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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I'm serving cannelloni to dinner guests tonight - the combination of the red and white sauces described in the last paragraph above.


I'll definitely post photos within the next couple of days of the dish before and after baking so you can get the visual on it.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:47 PM   #5
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I bought the ingredients for this. Planning to make it Monday.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:31 PM   #6
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Looking forward to your critique of the dish.
Here's hoping it turns out the way you expect it to.
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Old 08-31-2019, 10:48 PM   #7
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My guests tonite not only said they loved this cannelloni dish, but asked for the recipe, and were pleasantly surprised to be asked if they wished to take the leftovers home, which they happily did .
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Old 09-01-2019, 09:45 AM   #8
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I served cannelloni to my 2 guests last night - casserole contained 14 cannelloni tubes - I usually allow 3 tubes per person.
Before and after cooking:
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:25 AM   #9
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Looks great!

I learned something the other day while in the supermarket looking for cannelloni tubes. Manicotti are tubes with cheese and sauce while cannelloni have meat/veggies in addition to the cheese and sauce.

The tubes I found in the market were called manicotti tubes.
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Old 09-01-2019, 12:25 PM   #10
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Manicotti tubes are just fine for this recipe, but they're a bit thicker pasta than cannelloni tubes, so just parboil them a bit longer - 1/2 minute more or so, and add 5 minutes or so to the baking time - from 25 or so minutes, to 30 or more minutes.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:42 PM   #11
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Started the recipe tonight. I’m making two different fillings. One with Sausage and the other with fake meat. So the filling and béchamel sauce are ready to go. Will cook the tubes and assemble them tomorrow. I did taste the sausage filling and can give it three thumbs up!
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:05 PM   #12
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Thank you for sharing, RMM. I'll have to try that. My usual go-to stuffed pasta dish is stuffed shells.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqcoder View Post
Started the recipe tonight. I’m making two different fillings. One with Sausage and the other with fake meat. So the filling and béchamel sauce are ready to go. Will cook the tubes and assemble them tomorrow. I did taste the sausage filling and can give it three thumbs up!
Wonderful - hope it works out very well when you finish it tomorrow.


Wait till you taste the cannelloni tubes after baking, with the cheesy sauce and the extra romano cheese over it !!
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:18 PM   #14
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Thank you for sharing, RMM. I'll have to try that. My usual go-to stuffed pasta dish is stuffed shells.
Stuffed shells are great Cheryl - I do them too - but IMO cannelloni is truly 'kicked up a notch' over shells , as Emeril would say.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:27 PM   #15
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This recipe sounds so rich that I think I gained a pound or three just reading it! Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqcoder View Post
...I learned something the other day while in the supermarket looking for cannelloni tubes. Manicotti are tubes with cheese and sauce while cannelloni have meat/veggies in addition to the cheese and sauce...
Quote:
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Manicotti tubes are just fine for this recipe, but they're a bit thicker pasta than cannelloni tubes...
These two comments sent me down a rabbit hole From what I could find, it's likely that the first tubular pasta dish was made with rolled sheets of fresh lasagna pasta. The "Pasta Project" blogger also has a bit different explanation for cannelloni/manicotti/crespelle than that of the blogger with the "View from My Italian Kitchen". While Jacqui Debono's recipe for "Pumpkin and Goat Cheese" cannelloni looks good, I should try make the one filled with potato and porcini. Our daughter's two favorite food groups are pasta and potatoes. A dish that marries the two? Perfect!
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:17 PM   #16
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Yes, it is rich (and could be fattening too - LOL), and while I've more or less touted it as being a very tasty and satisfying dish that many people fall in love with, while also being easy to make, even if a bit time-consuming - it does come with one part of the preparation which can be a touch difficult to get right, and be a cause for some frustration if it doesn't turn out well.


And that is the consistency of the béchamel sauce.

If it's too thick, it can come out lumpy, dry and even curdly-like - not an appetizing sight to serve - or it can be too thin - with the finished product being very milky/overly runny wet & not holding well together.


I mention this, because one of the first times I cooked this dish for guests, the lady asked me (a lady who is an excellent cook btw) : "how do you get the sauce to be so creamy and of such good consistency, mine always seems to come out thicker than I want it ".


I told her I'd had to bake this dish several times at the beginning before I got it more or less right, and that I still occasionally find it to be somewhat hit and miss - usually too runny in my case when I overdo the milk part in my effort to have enough sauce to fully cover the cannelloni tubes.


But you do have to make the sauce looking & feeling somewhat 'more milky' than one would normally expect a béchamel sauce to be.


For many people it often develops that the sauce turns out too thick, because the amount of flour and cheeses used is too great versus the quantity of milk added. Go purposely light on the flour initially added to melted butter. You can always thicken it up a bit by adding more cheese to the sauce at the end.


The best way I can describe the consistency to aim for, is for it to be just very slightly thicker than whipping cream. Baking will thicken it some through evaporation under heat.


Apologies for the lengthy explanation - hope it helps those of you trying this recipe out for the first time.
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:48 PM   #17
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Béchamel sauce doesn't have cheese in it.

"Béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is made from a white roux and milk. It has been considered, since the seventeenth century, one of the mother sauces of French cuisine. It is used as the base for other sauces."

If cheese is added it is a Mornay sauce variation.

"A Mornay sauce is a béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese added. Some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or white Cheddar. A Mornay sauce made with cheddar is commonly used to make macaroni and cheese."
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:53 PM   #18
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This sounds good.

My aunts used crepes for manicotti and cannelloni. But store bought tubes are easier. I like the pasta tubes better myself.

I only make crepes for cheese and potato blintzes. Last time I made them DD helped and now it is her job to make the crepes. I took over for my mom now it's her turn.
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:18 PM   #19
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Béchamel sauce doesn't have cheese in it.

"Béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is made from a white roux and milk. It has been considered, since the seventeenth century, one of the mother sauces of French cuisine. It is used as the base for other sauces."

If cheese is added it is a Mornay sauce variation.

"A Mornay sauce is a béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese added. Some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or white Cheddar. A Mornay sauce made with cheddar is commonly used to make macaroni and cheese."
Strictly speaking you are quite correct.

But in the context of this recipe, most cooks would automatically gather that what is meant is ' a béchamel-based sauce, or béchamel-type sauce made with cheeses '.

All of the recipes I have read for this dish refer to it as bechamel , perhaps likely because many folks may not know what Mornay means, & be confused by the description of it's usual ingredients - yet they would know what béchamel is.
I'm sorry if I seem to be getting a bit sensitive, but why the hair-splitting ?
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:26 PM   #20
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This sounds good.

My aunts used crepes for manicotti and cannelloni. But store bought tubes are easier. I like the pasta tubes better myself.

I only make crepes for cheese and potato blintzes. Last time I made them DD helped and now it is her job to make the crepes. I took over for my mom now it's her turn.
Yes, in Europe this dish or similar ones are often made with crepes.
Lidia Bastianich of Lidia's Italian Kitchen TV series, also makes it with crepes.
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CANNELLONI - my go to favorite pasta recipe! THE PASTA: Some Italian food lovers would choose to make their own fresh pasta for this dish, or cut & roll up fresh pasta sheets - the ones generally used for making lasagna, but I almost always take the simple route of using a box of store-bought, so-called 'oven-ready', cannelloni tubes. These are 'hard' out of the box and can easily break up/splinter if not carefully handled, so one should parboil them first for approx. 2 minutes max - so that they soften up a bit, but are still firm enough to retain their shape and are easily stuffed with the filling, and will be of the right consistency upon baking. A box of these cannelloni tubes contains at or near 2 dozen pieces, which is roughly the number this recipe will make. After stuffing, any tubes unused that day can be frozen for later use when their taste will be every bit as good as the fresh ones. All one needs to do is to fresh make a bechamel sauce each time you use any from the frozen batch. THE FILLING - Ingredients you'll need: To be sauteed: - Approx. 1/2 lb. each of spicy (or mild) italian sausage meat, and ground beef (or pork if you prefer). - 1/2 cup finely chopped onion or shallot. - 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped. - 1 Tbspn. tomato paste. - 1/2 cup white wine (optional). - 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds/ribs removed & finely chopped. - 1 tspn. dry oregano. - 1/2 tspn. powdered nutmeg. - Large pinch of sugar - Some olive oil. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add a tbspn of olive oil & saute the diced onions (or shallots) for 1-2 minutes, add the diced garlic & fry for another minute, then gradually add the meats and saute until cooked through, while occasionally breaking up the meat with a potato masher to ensure uniform small ground consistency. Then add the white wine, if using, along with the tomato paste, the diced jalapeno pepper, the oregano, the nutmeg, and the sugar - mix all ingredients well while saute-ing for a further 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat, drain through a sieve to remove excess fat/liquids, and allow to cool. To be added cold in a large bowl along with the above mixture after it has been cooked, drained and cooled: - 1 -500 gram tub of ricotta cheese, preferably creamy full fat. - 1/2 cup of coarsely grated provolone ( or substitute gruyere, swiss, cheddar, - whatever cheese you have on hand or prefer). - 1/3 - 1/2 cup finely grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan). - 2 Tbspns. Cream Cheese. - 1/3 - 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn apart. - 1/2 small tin or jar of marinated & quartered artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped. - 1 egg, for binding Mix all ingredients well together to form the completed filling for the cannelloni tubes. If the mixture seems too heavily 'dryish', mix in a little milk or cream to soften/moisten & better facilitate filling the tubes. Use a piping bag for filling each tube, or a ziplock bag with a hole cut into the bottom corner for piping, or just use your fingers like I do - works just as fast and well. The simple Bechamel Sauce: Ingredients: In a small to medium-sized saucepan over medium heat: - Melt 1 Tbspn. butter. - Add 2 tspns. flour & whisk together well till bubbling. - Add 1/4 tspn. each of white pepper and ground nutmeg. - Begin gradually adding 2/3 to 1 cup, or more, of milk, whisking well as the sauce thickens somewhat - approx. 2-3 minutes or so. - Gradually add approx. 2/3 cup coarsely grated provolone or other good melting cheese of your choice, along with approx. 1/2 cup finely grated romano, or parmesan cheese, and whisk in until melted and well blended. The finished white sauce needs to be quite watery, in order to remain of this consistency, more or less, as a finished baked product, with no curdling. The sauce consistency should be no thicker consistency than say, heavy cream, or even slightly less so. If it is not, add milk & whisk till that consistency is achieved. This is important. Allow to cool. Baking: Line up rows of filled cannelloni tubes, closely side by side, as many as you wish to bake in an oven-proof corning ware casserole dish of the size needed for the number of cannelloni you're baking. Completely cover the cannelloni with the bechamel sauce, adding more milk or cream if need be, and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of grated romano cheese over top of the sauce. Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so, & then finish by turning on the broiler for 2 minutes or so to nicely brown the topping of romano cheese. ENJOY ! 3 stars 1 reviews
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