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!
Manu provided several recipes, which made my life hard, cause I had to choose! I started making the cannellini di magro, basically because we had had so much meat already, I felt like eating vegetarian.
I was a bit unorganized the week i wanted to make this, and had not completely written down all the ingredients and hence ended up with too little ricotta (250 grams instead of 400! a disaster). So instead of making the cannelloni immediately after I bought the spinach, I could only make it a few days later, when I had bought the extra ricotta and found the time and energy to make this meal. Which meant, I had to throw away quite a bit of the spinach. Yes I know, my own fault. But, I figured:there is no such thing as too cheesy, so I made them, with I think about 300grams of spinach instead of the required pound and ended up with a much more cheesier filling. No Problem!
These are the ingredients:
Ingredients (serves 4)
Cannelloni sheets per recipe above (you should have about 8 sheets) (this is based on 1 large egg and about 100 grams of 00 flour)
2 bunches (500 gm) (1 lb) spinach (raw to be cleaned)
1-2/3 cups (400 ml) (400 gm) (14 oz) ricotta
2 cups (480 ml) (120 gms) (4 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated, divided
Salt and pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 large egg
Béchamel sauce as per above recipe (500 ml of milk, 50grams of butter, 50grams of flour, pinch of salt, pinch of nutmeg)
The pasta I made by mixing about 80 grams of flour with one egg and then after kneading thoroughly adding more flour to get the right texture, for me this works better than immediately mixing one egg into 100 grams of oo flour, cause that always let’s me end up with too dry dough. I guess there is quite some variation in the size of eggs we have. I made the pasta with a machine, which is really, easy peasy. Then I cooked the spinach and put it in a sieve for about half an hour to get rid of the water. I made a bechamel sauce in the meantime, (almost managed to burn it! bechamel sauce is NOT a multi-tasking thing!). Then I mixed the ricotta with parmesan an egg, the spices and finally the very finely chopped spinach. Now i was ready to fill the pasta, which I had cooked sheet by sheet for 1 minutes, following the recipe. This was unexpectedly easy. I was afraid it would be messy, but no, by cooking the pasta, it got a little sticky, and this made rolling the cannelloni really easy. Now I put everything into the oven dish and into the oven for 20-25 minutes, starting at 180 degrees and turning the heat higher for the last 5 minutes. Here are some pics:
As you can see, the biggest challenge actually was to get the cannelloni out of the oven dish onto the plate without creating a huge mess. I honestly don’t understand how all the other daring cooks managed to get so pretty pictures!
Anyway, apart from this: excellent dish, very nice recipe, lots of fun to make, and good food. I think I would maybe opt for a little less bechamel next time, cause it sure is heavy, but other than that: thanks Manu!
p.s. I made the meat version as well, which was very good as well, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to blog about that today as well. So, to be updated.