Dear President Obama,
Rudy Giuliani is asking whether you love America. But all I really want to know is whether you love cannelloni. These delicious tubes of pasta, stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta, spinach and/or ground meat, covered with a tomato or béchamel sauce, and then baked to perfection. Do you believe in cannelloni? That’s my question.
Of course, the red and blue states of Italy view cannelloni differently. In and around Naples, for example, you could expect to see the meat and cheese combination offered in today’s recipe, though the sauce would be a Neapolitan ragù (which I didn’t have time to make), rather than a classic tomato sauce. Up north, you might find a fresh egg pasta, covered with béchamel. The potential fillings might well vary from house to house. And in some homes, cannelloni might just be called manicotti, especially when the filling is simply ricotta.
Forget politics. Tell me whether you love cannelloni, and then I will tell you how I vote.
Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until lightly golden. Add the meat, and after a couple of minutes, the wine. Cook for about 10 minutes and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
In a large bowl, add the ricotta, Parmigiano, and mozzarella. Mix in the meat and the hard boiled egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the two beaten eggs.
Lay out the pasta sheets. Cut the sheets into rectangles, 3 inches x 4 inches. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center and roll the sheets into a tube. (There should be enough filling so that the pasta does not go around more than once.) Repeat until all the pasta sheets are filled.
Spread a spoonful of sauce over the bottom of a baking pan. Arrange the cannelloni over the sauce, so that they are not touching. Cover each with a spoonful of sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until hot.
Serve immediate with a spoon of remaining sauce and a sprinkle of Parmigiano.
The total prep and cook time will take 60 minutes if you use package cannelloni tubes or fresh pasta sheets.