By Nancy Caivano
10 oz spinach
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup dried mushrooms (such as porcini,
crimini, or shitake)
1 boneless chicken breast (about 4 oz)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 tsp. jar garlic)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3 oz. prosciutto, chopped (you can substitute ham if necessary)
10 oz. ground beef
3 oz. mortadella, chopped (you can find this
in Italian deli's or specialty stores—you can omit
this if you cant find it, but it adds great flavor)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped (or 16 oz can diced,
not crushed, tomatoes, such as Del Monte)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or Parmesan, divided
Boil the spinach in a large pot of salted water until wilted. Drain and squeeze dry. purée in a food processor. Mix spinach with the flour and eggs and knead into a smooth, soft dough. Wrap in plastic and set aside.
Soak the mushrooms in lukewarm water to cover for 1 hour. Drain and chop. Cut the chicken meat into cubes. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery garlic, parsley and prosciutto and sauté for 10 minutes. Add beef, chicken and mortadella. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate. Add the tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook the sauce over low heat for about 1 hour or until thickened. Right before filling cannelloni, add half of the grated cheese.
Roll out the pasta dough very thinly (about 1/8") and cut into 4-inch squares. Bring a large pot of boiling, salted water to boil. Drop in pasta a few squares at a time and cook until almost al dente. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place on a cloth to dry.
Place a small amount of sauce in the center of each square of pasta and roll up to form a cylinder.
Spray a 9-inch baking dish well with cooking spray, and arrange the cannelloni in it. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Preheat oven to 400° F. Bake cannelloni about 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
If you have a store that sells fresh pasta—you can by pasta sheets and cut the squares from there. Also, the meats in the sauce can be changed—all beef, beef and pork, etc—there are many combinations. You could also top the cannelloni with a béchamel sauce, or another cream sauce. The cannelloni can be made ahead of time, covered with sauce and frozen, covered with both plastic wrap and foil. To bake, remove plastic; recover with foil and bake in a low oven (200° F.), until a knife goes through easily. Then bake as above.
This page created December 1998
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