In Facebook land, I have written about cannelloni three times. One time I wrote of a sausage sauce based on Marcella Hazen's five ingredient sauce. Another time, I described a Chicken Florentine with a cheesy mushroom bechamel sauce. The third was a gluten and carb free version using long slices of zucchini to replace the noodles. That is the beauty of cannelloni - you roll up a cheesy stuffing that contains whatever you wish and then you sauce it how you please before baking. Somewhere out there someone (Not Me) makes a smoked oyster and pineapple variation.
This version will present the regular roll ups but will utilized a sauce that tends to the puttanesca side
This recipe prepares 14 roll up tubes in a 13 X 9 pan and 4 tubes in a side dish.
One small onion diced fine (around one cup)
4 ounces baby portabella mushrooms diced small (around two cups)
28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
One 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
One 12 can tomato juice
1 head garlic, peeled and minced.
½ cup dry red wine (optional)
1 Tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
2 to 3 Tablespoons minced fresh herbs (Oregano, Marjoram, or Basil, or combination)*
A full pinch of red pepper flakes*
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 rounded tablespoons capers
1/4 to 1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
3 inch stripe of anchovie paste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
*You may use a rounded Tablespoon or more of Italian seasoning if fresh herbs are not available. Some seasoning blends, such as Cento and King Arthur Pizza Seasoning include crushed red pepper flakes. If so, adjust the size of the pinch of red pepper flakes listed in the recipe.
Pasta and Stuffing Ingredients:
18 pieces Oven Ready (no boil) lasagne pasta
Two 15 ounce tubs of ricotta (whole or part skim)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
4 ounces grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 package (8 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, chopped and squeezed dry
3 Tablespoons minced parsley
4 grinds black pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Put the olive oil in the bottom of a heavy large saucepan. Add the onion and stir to coat. Turn on the heat to medium. When the onion begins to sizzle and cook, add the mushroom evenly over the onion. Do not stir. This allows the mushroom to begin cooking without soaking up all the oil.
When the mushroom begins to soften and to give up its juices, stir and continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms soft.
Add the tomato paste and stir in. Cook another minute. Add the olives, capers, garlic and herbs. If using the anchovy paste it goes in here. When the mixture becomes very fragrant, add the red wine and cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato juice. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
Mix all ingredients except the pasta. (Wasn’t that difficult?)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Use a tea kettle to heat water just to boiling and pour a little over an inch in the bottom of a 13 X 9 baking dish. One by one add 18 no boil lasagna sheets. Jiggle and use a fork to make sure they do not stick together. When the sheets have become flexible, remove them from the water and arrange in a single layer on dry kitchen towels.
Use a large trigger ice cream scoop (doser) or a large spoon to put a ¼ cup amount of stuffing on each.
Use the remainder to even out.
With the short side of the sheets facing you, spread the mixture evenly from the close end toward the other, but leave about two inches uncovered on the far end. Roll the sheets away from you and use the uncovered pasta to seal the tube.
Put 1 and ½ cups of sauce in the bottom of the dried out 13 X 9 pan. Spread the sauce evenly.
Arrange 14 tubes, seam side down, in that pan. In the back up pan pour enough of the sauce to coat the bottom. Put the remaining 4 tubes seam side down in that pan. Cover all tubes with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the surface well with Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake the large pan 45 minutes. Pull the small pan out five minutes early. Remove the foil and let stand 15 minutes before serving with additional grated Parmesan.
Either pan may be frozen before or after baking. If frozen before baking, thaw well before inserting in a hot oven.