MAKING CANNELLONI or MANICOTTI - PASQUALE BRUNO, JR.
Serves 4 - 6
You can make these cannelloni with sheets of commercially available lasagna or with fresh pasta. The cooking times will be longer with the commercial pasta.
Like ravioli and tortellini, cannelloni can be stuffed and sauced with a variety of savory concoctions, such as chicken with cream sauce . The basic recipe follows.
Order of Preparation:
1. Make the pasta sheets following the basic recipe. If you are using a pasta machine, stop at the next-to-last setting on the rollers. If rolling by hand, roll the dough as thin as possible.
2. Cut the sheet of pasta dough into rectangles about 3 inches by 4 inches. Cut 1 piece to that size and use it as a guide to cut the others. You will get about 8 rectangular pieces, 3 inches by 4 inches, from a sheet of dough that is 18 inches long and 6 inches wide; this is the standard width if you are using an Atlas or Imperia pasta machine.
3. Here are the pieces of dough ready for the boiling water. These pieces are slightly larger than the size recommended above. After cooking they will increase in size and the result will be 2 cannelloni from each piece of dough. If using fresh pasta, do not allow the pieces to dry for more than 10 minutes before cooking.
4. Drop the pieces of dough, a few at a time, into a large pot of boiling salted water. With fresh pasta, about 2 minutes is enough cooking time as the pasta will have additional cooking time in the oven. For commercial pasta, cook 4 - 6 minutes until flexible but not soft.
5. Have a bowl of cold water ready to receive the cooked pasta. Scoop the cannelloni out and lower into the cold water.
6. Quickly separate the pieces with your hands while the next batch is cooking.
7. Lay out the pieces on a clean towel that has been dampened and wrung dry.
8. Pat the top dry with another clean towel or paper towels. Let the pieces of pasta sit for about 30 minutes.
9. Lay the filling across the cooked pasta (the long way), slightly off center toward your body.
10. Roll the pasta around the filling away from you.
11. Place the cannelloni in a well-buttered baking dish. Dress with the sauce and bake in a preheated 400 deg. F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
You will note that the cooked pasta is larger in size than the uncooked. The dough will expand by an inch or more in the cooking. In this sequence, I cut each cannelloni into 2 equal pieces after they were rolled - note the size of the cannelloni in the baking dish compared to the size during the rolling.
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