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Fresh pasta rolled into rectangles and filled with a spinach ricotta filling, topped with homemade bechamel sauce and baked. Perfection!
Note: this recipe requires a pasta maker
For the pasta dough:
Put the flour and egg in a food processor and mix. When the dough starts to resemble crumbs, place it on a cutting board that you’ve dusted with a little bit of flour. Knead it by hand until your dough is smooth. Form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
To make the pasta: cut out 1/8 of the dough and flatten it into a rectangular shape with your hands. Put a little flour on it and begin passing it though the pasta machine. Turn the dial to the widest setting and, starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers. Now fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that. Starting with one of the narrower sides of the folded dough, feed the pasta through the machine, again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and rolling technique on the widest setting for a couple of times. Then roll the dough through the next smaller setting. Roll the pasta through the machine without folding the dough between settings. Keep reducing the settings until you reach the narrowest one. To make cannelloni, trim each finished pasta sheet so that when measured each one is 4 by 6 inches. Repeat with the remaining 7 sections of dough.
For the bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Then add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated—this is the “roux”. Let it cook for a minute or two. Start adding hot milk a little bit at a time, while mixing continuously. Continue until the milk is well incorporated. Add the milk a bit at a time—do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated. Keep adding milk until all of it is incorporated. Add salt and nutmeg and cook it on a low heat for 5-10 minutes or until it thickens.
For the filling and assembly:
Clean and wash the spinach. Blanch the spinach for 2 minutes in a pot of salty boiling water. Drain the water off, putting the spinach into a colander. Rinse spinach with cold water to cool it down quickly. Keep spinach in the colander for 1 hour to lose the excess water. Then squeeze the spinach with your hands to get rid of as much liquid as possible.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Add ricotta to a bowl. Add the spinach, egg, 1½ cups of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. It’s best to cook them one at a time. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate to cool down. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the pasta.
Now take one sheet of cooked pasta and add 1/8 of the filling along the long side of the rectangular pasta sheet. Roll each pasta sheet up like you would a crepe (rolling the empty side of the pasta around the filling to make a tube like shape). Repeat for the remaining rectangles of pasta and the rest of the filling.
Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with some cooking spray and pour some béchamel sauce on the bottom. Spread it well, especially in the corners. Place the cannelloni in the baking pan in 1 layer. Cover the cannelloni with the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake for 20 minutes, then broil 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Manus Menu.
The texture is absolutely perfect, creamy and rich. You should start with 1/2 cup of cheese and go from there. If you want it cheesier and richer like me, then you can and should add 1/4 cup more. This is one of those recipes I have pinned to my fridge so that I have it close in those lazy single moments haha.
Have 30 minutes? Then you can definitely make this crazy good recipe using everyday ingredients.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!