Filled pastas are a wonderful Italian treat. Whether you’re spending a happy afternoon making your own fresh egg pasta dough to shape into homemade cheese ravioli or cooking up a box of store-bought dried pasta for classic stuffed shells you’ll always have an appreciative (and hungry) audience!
If you’re in the mood for something less involved than egg pasta and much better than “fresh” pasta from the deli department why not try cannelloni?
They’re long tubes, similar to the dried manicotti that you can buy and fill. However, these are made from scratch and they don’t require any kneading and rolling out at all. They’re basically thick crepes.
It’s a fun and different way to try Italian night next time. Plus, they’re much quicker and easier to make and not too difficult to mess up. You just want to be sure not to overcook them.
I made a simple ricotta filling for these. After rolling and filling, I covered them with a smooth pasta sauce and baked until nice and bubbly. Amore!
Homemade Ricotta-Filled Cannelloni
Makes 11 (I know, that’s weird.)
1 recipe Smooth Pasta Sauce or large jar of your favorite pasta sauce
15 oz container ricotta
1 large egg
2 Tbsp Parmesan, grated
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
black pepper, to taste
3 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp Parmesan, grated, to finish
Prepare the Smooth Pasta Sauce according to recipe. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
You can make the cannelloni in a skillet or on a stovetop grill. I have an electric crepe maker that works perfectly. Heat the skillet or grill on low-medium. Lay out a long sheet of wax or parchment paper on the counter.
Add the eggs, water, flour, and sea salt into the large bowl of a food processor. Process until well-combined and frothy, 4 to 6 pulses. If desired, scrape the batter into a bowl to make it easier to work with.
When the skillet is ready give it a spray. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter onto the hot grill, spreading it out a bit quickly with the bottom of the measuring cup. You don’t want these as thin as crepes. They’ll be about 4 inches in diameter or so and have a bit of a rustic appearance. Isn’t that fun?
As you watch the noodle will begin to dry a bit. Cook for 1 to 1:15 minutes at the most. They might still look wet, but they’re ready. You don’t want to them to brown.
Using a thin spatula gently lift the noodle and place it on the sheet of waxed paper, placing the uncooked side up. Repeat until all remaining batter is used, spraying lightly between each one.
Take your prepared pasta sauce and spread a thin layer on the bottom of a 2-qt baking dish.
Remove the ricotta filling from the refrigerator. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the ricotta slightly below the middle of one of the noodles.
Loosely roll from the bottom up, taking care not to squeeze it too tight.
Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling, wedging them in there the best you can.
Cover with the pasta sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving.