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The Best Homemade Cannelloni

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The Best Homemade Cannelloni

Indulge in a culinary masterpiece with The Best Homemade Cannelloni, where the delicate embrace of pasta meets a symphony of delectable fillings and savoury sauces. Crafted with love and precision, these cylindrical pasta tubes are a celebration of authentic Italian flavours and the art of homemade goodness. Whether generously stuffed with ricotta and spinach or a rich meat filling, each bite promises a burst of textures and tastes that transport you to the heart of Italy. Join us on a gastronomic journey as we explore the intricacies of creating these culinary delights from scratch — an experience that elevates the ordinary into the extraordinary and invites you to savour the joy of homemade perfection.

The Best Home-Made Cannelloni Recipe

The Best Homemade Cannelloni Recipe: A Taste of Italian Excellence

Savour the essence of authentic Italian cuisine with The Best Homemade Cannelloni — a culinary journey that combines delicate pasta tubes with sumptuous fillings and luscious sauces. Elevate your dining experience by crafting these delectable creations from scratch, celebrating the rich tapestry of flavours found in every homemade bite.

Ingredients:

For the Cannelloni Dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour: Plus extra for dusting.
  • 3 large eggs: At room temperature.
  • A pinch of salt: Enhances the pasta’s flavour.

For the Ricotta and Spinach Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese: Drained to remove excess moisture.
  • 1 cup fresh spinach: Finely chopped and wilted.
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese: Adds a savoury kick.
  • 1 egg yolk: Binds the filling together.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: Season according to preference.
  • A pinch of nutmeg: Elevates the flavour profile.

For the Meat Filling:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or pork: Cooked and seasoned.
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese: Balances the richness.
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese: Adds a sharp, salty flavour.
  • 1 garlic clove: Minced for a hint of pungency.
  • Fresh parsley: Chopped, for a burst of freshness.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: Season according to preference.

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk: Warmed
  • Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Instructions:

Prepare the Cannelloni Dough:

  • On a clean surface, mound the flour and create a well in the centre.
  • Crack the eggs into the well, add a pinch of salt, and gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs until a dough forms.
  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Make the Ricotta and Spinach Filling:

  • In a bowl, combine the drained ricotta, wilted spinach, grated Parmesan, egg yolk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside.

Prepare the Meat Filling:

  • In another bowl, mix the cooked and seasoned ground meat with ricotta, grated Pecorino Romano, minced garlic, and chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Roll Out the Cannelloni Dough:

  • Divide the rested pasta dough into manageable portions.
  • Roll out each portion into thin sheets using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, ensuring uniform thickness.

Assemble the Cannelloni:

  • Place small spoonfuls of the desired filling along one edge of each pasta sheet.
  • Carefully roll the pasta sheets around the filling, creating cylindrical tubes.

Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously to create a roux.
  • Gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  • Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Layer and Bake:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Arrange the filled cannelloni in the dish and cover with the remaining bechamel sauce.

Bake to Perfection:

  • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown, and the cannelloni are cooked through.

Serve and Enjoy:

  • Allow the cannelloni to cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan and chopped parsley if desired.

Tips and Variations:

  • Experiment with different fillings, such as a blend of ricotta and mushrooms or a seafood medley.
  • Consider adding a layer of tomato sauce along with the bechamel for a flavorful twist.
  • Freeze any extra cannelloni for future use. Lay them in a single layer on a tray, freeze until firm, and then transfer to a freezer bag.

Conclusion: The Best Homemade Cannelloni recipe invites you to partake in the joy of crafting these iconic Italian pasta tubes from scratch. Whether filled with ricotta and spinach or a savoury meat blend, each cannelloni embodies the warmth and richness of homemade excellence. Elevate your dining experience with this culinary masterpiece, celebrating the union of pasta, filling, and sauce in a symphony of flavours.

A Little History Lesson

The history of cannelloni, those elegant pasta tubes filled with flavorful goodness, is deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of Italy. The name “cannelloni” itself means “large reeds” in Italian, reflecting the pasta’s characteristic tubular shape. While the precise origin of cannelloni is not documented, its evolution is intertwined with the rich history of Italian pasta.

Cannelloni is believed to have originated in the Campania region of Italy, with its creation often credited to the city of Naples. The dish likely emerged in the mid-19th century during a period of culinary experimentation and innovation in Italian kitchens. The concept of stuffing pasta tubes with a variety of delicious fillings, from ricotta and spinach to meat and vegetables, quickly gained popularity.

One of the earliest references to cannelloni can be found in Pellegrino Artusi’s seminal Italian cookbook, “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well), published in 1891. Artusi’s work played a pivotal role in standardizing Italian cuisine and showcasing regional specialties, including the burgeoning popularity of cannelloni.

Over the years, cannelloni has become a symbol of comfort and celebration in Italian households, gracing tables during festive occasions and family gatherings. Its adaptability to various fillings and sauces has allowed it to evolve, making it a beloved dish not only in Italy but also worldwide. Today, cannelloni continues to be a testament to the timeless allure of pasta and the art of Italian culinary craftsmanship.

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