Hmm, so apparently I forgot to add any content to this post. Sorry to all y’all who just saw the pictures with no accompanying text.
Anyways, Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!
I was pretty excited when I saw this month’s challenge. I love pasta! We had four different sample recipes to try, and my initial thought was to make all four kinds in one crazy cannelloni mash-up bash. But that plan quickly got left by the wayside when I realized that to accomplish it I’d need to make up four or five different kinds of sauce and fillings. So my next plan was to make all four kinds, but do them one at a time over the course of a month. And that plan was a little more do-able, but I still only made it 50% of the way:
First, a little background: cannelloni = enchiladas made with pasta. And, like, other Italian-y things. And I’m sure I’d get lynched in Italy for saying that — but hey, presto! I’m not in Italy, so I don’t care! :D
Making the pasta is extremely easy, and you need a surprisingly small amount for 8 cannelloni; just take 100g of flour and an egg, and mix it all together. Then, take your handy-dandy pasta roller and roll the dough out paper-thin (I went down to setting 7 out of 9 on mine). Or you could, you know, hand-roll it, but who wants to do that?
I made two different kinds: the first was cannelloni di magro, which means enchiladas without meat (yea, I’m never gonna let that one go…) This recipe used a bechamel-and-spinach filling: to make, mix 1 2/3 cups ricotta, 1.5 cups Parmesan, 1 lb of spinach (wilted and dried), an egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Then place them in the cannelloni:
All the various cannelloni recipes then look basically the same: put some sauce in the bottom of a pyrex dish, lay the
enchiladas cannelloni in the dish, and cover with sauce and more cheese. Then bake for 20 minutes at 400F, and broil for 3-5 minutes, until the top looks yummy:
(This first recipe I didn’t salt enough, and I kindof burned the top while it was broiling. So it came out ever so slightly bland, with a faint overtone of carcinogen. But, it was still really tasty!)
Next up, we decided to do a meat-based dish. This was a little bit more complicated, but not too much. First, cook about a pound and a half of ground beef on the stove, together with a chopped onion, some olive oil, and a bay leaf. Once the beef is cooked through, and in tiny crumbly pieces, deglaze the pan with white wine, and mix the beef with 3/4 cups of bechamel, and 1.5 cups of Parmesan. Then fill the cannelloni as before, and layer, using a red sauce this time. Finally, pour another 3/4 cup of bechamel over the top, and cook:
For the first recipe we made our own bechamel, but for the meat cannelloni, we used premade bechamel, but made our own tomato sauce. This version got spiced much better, and I didn’t burn the top, either. It was absolutely delicious!
In closing I’d like to point out that this might be replacing lasagne in my “yummy Italian recipes” book — while lasagne is incredibly tasty, it is substantially more work than cannelloni is (primarily because the pasta takes so much more time to prepare), and cannelloni is just about as good. So there you have it. Italian enchiladas!