Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quick n Easy Canneloni

Hate is such a strong word but I have to use it in my next sentence. 
Mr. Betty Martha hates pasta!  I know, how can the carb queen marry such a man??  Side note: Mr. Ugh is now known as Mr. Betty Martha - he wanted a new name.
He was forced to eat Kraft Dinner as a child and despised it even back then - I've been told the story numerous times and will spare you the "upchucking" details but needless to say he wont eat the stuff. 
In our house we have what I like to call "I'm eating pasta so do whatever you want" nights but for some strange reason when I make this dish he wants to ensure there is enough to bring for lunch the next day!!
It's a quick and easy recipe, and tastes great. 

Funny story, I was watching the Food Network the other day and the chef was going to make cannelloni.  I found myself glued to the tv to see if, or what other things they might add or take away in case I wanted to change mine up (even though its the best already). Ok ok that wasn't really funny.  They didn't use anything different for the filling, if anything, mine sounded as if it might have a better "taste".  Only difference is I didn't make my own pasta. *fellow blog readers I would like to own a pasta machine, maybe for Christmas? Just sayin*

Cheese n Spinach Stuffed Cannelloni

14 ready to bake cannelloni shells
1 pkg light ricotta
5 c. spinach
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 egg
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

For the filling - wilt the spinach in a pan or pot (which you can cover) with a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tbsp. butter. This should only take a few minutes. Remove, let cool and drain to remove most of the excess water.

In a bowl, add ricotta, chopped garlic, spices and egg and mix well - but do not over mix. Chop spinach to a rough chop and fold in. Since we used the ready to bake shells it can be difficult sometimes to get the filling in. You can use a pastry bag or the trusty Ziploc bag with the tip cut to fill the shells.
Sauces below
*once your sauces are made place a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of your pan and place the filled shells on top. Dollop the bechamel sauce over the shells and then top with the remainder of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with parm cheese and mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes*

1 can diced tomatoes
8-10 fresh basil leaves lightly torn
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 - 2 tsp. olive oil
Empty contents of can into blender and pulse to a smooth consistency.  Heat oil and add garlic for a few seconds, pour in tomato puree, add garlic, basil and stir.  Heat for 10 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce (optional)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (whole tastes better)
1 1/2 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
Making a basic roux, melt the butter, sprinkle in the flour and nutmeg and stir.  Cook for a 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk in stages, whisking each time to smooth out.  Don't worry if you see lumps, they will disappear.  Sauce will thicken as you cook it.
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