Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cann-e-ll-oni - mmmm!

For lovers of lasagna, you can create a variation of the lasagna theme by using the same ingredients, that is; white bechamel sauce, a good ragù, pasta and grated cheese to create a cannelloni dish. Instead of separating the sauces with pasta sheets, fill up a few pasta pipes with tomato sauce and pour a rich delicious white sauce over. Equally good, and so pretty.

Cannelloni (Serves 3)

A word of warning. It takes certainly much more effort to make cannelloni than a lasagna. This as you have to fill the sauce into small pasta tubes.

As a start use a good tomato sauce, made according to your favourite recipe. I make mine from plum tomatoes, garlic, ground beef or ham, olive oil, salt, herbs, red wine and enough sugar to cut the acidity.

You find my recipe for an Italian ragù here.

Use 300-400 grams ground beef or any other meat. Make sure that that the meat is finely minced, as it has to get into the small pasta tubes.

Alternatively use a can of premade tomato sauce. If you do look for a good brand, I personally find that Barilla's pasta sauces has that good Italian taste. The pasta sauce with ricotta would be a excellent choice for cannelloni.

I am definitely a lazy cook, and I found a package of Mornay sauce I bought in Copenhagen in the back of my refrigerator. I find the ready made white sauces easy and good, and it is, in my opinion, not worth making them from scratch, if you can get premade sauce.

This Mornay sauce was extremely good. I will certainly buy another package or three for more lazy meals when I revisit the Danish capital.

See my story on my Danish shopping bag here

Making a cannelloni is a more a question of assembling the ingredients, when they are ready to be used. As a start, use a package of cannelloni tubes. The best is to assemble the dish in a square baking tray. I had an oblong one (ouch!).

Rest of the work is basic plumbing. Fill up tubes with red sauce. The easiest way is to fill them up, while standing, as this will prevent the sauce pouring out of the other end, then tilt them over quickly when tubes are full.

When you have covered the baking tray with one layer, and if you have a few tubes left, fill them up and place them on top of thee other in the middle of the tray. Then pour white sauce over evenly so it covers all the tubes well. Sprinkle cheese on top, and bake in oven until cheese is golden brown.

De-li-ci-ous and pretty, and when you take them out you will find the cheesy crust deliciously crunchy and underneath the deliciously creamy white sauce and the spicy ragù as a contrast.

Serve with a salad, good bread, and red wine. Light a candle, if you want to impress someone.

More cannelloni?

See story cannelloni - variation over a theme on this site

See a recipe on cannelloni with veal, ham and gruyere cheese on Barilla's website

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