Cannelloni was on the menu this week, something I doubt I’ve ever made before. I decided that I would make it totally from scratch, which meant I also tried making pasta for the first time. It was actually pretty easy, but I don’t think I’d like to tackle making spaghetti, or even noodles, any time soon.

I learned that there’s a difference between manicotti and cannelloni, at least to Americans. My understanding was that cannelloni was Italian crepes, and pretty much it is, although in Italy they’re called crespelles. Both dishes are filled tubes; in manicotti the pasta is pre-formed into a tube, in cannelloni a flat sheet of pasta is rolled into a tube. We’ve had manicotti before, and I’m not particularly fond of stuffing pasta, so I was happy to try the rolling. I much prefer this assembly method.

Here’s the link I used as my starting point – Cannelloni. We’re happy with how our dinner turned out, and we’ll try it again, maybe with some different fillings. I also might try using an actual crepe recipe sometime as well. We’ll see.

Baked Turkey Cannelloni

4 cannelloni squares
2 cups Bechamel Sauce
1-2 cups turkey filling
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

To make the pasta squares, combine 3/4 cup flour and 1 egg. Knead until smooth, then wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Roll until thin; fold in thirds and roll again. I tried to make a rectangle approximately 6 inches by 16 inches. Then cut into fourths, to make 4 4×6″ pieces. (I left these on the counter for a while, and when I went to use them they stuck. So next time I need to cook them sooner, or at least place them somewhere else.) Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the cannelloni for 1-2 minutes each. Then remove and set on a towel to drain.

Bechamel Sauce

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and stir in 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk in 2 cups milk and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste; add a bit of oregano and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Turkey Filling

Saute 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add 1-2 cups cooked turkey (or raw chicken breast and cook until done). Stir in some basil pesto (about 2 tablespoons) and sun-dried tomatoes (about 1/4 cup). Salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, place some Bechamel Sauce in the bottom of a 9×9″ baking pan. Take a pasta square and dollop some filling on it (on the 4″ end). Roll up and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining 3 squares. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

egg and flour
rolled into a ball
rolled into 6×16″ rectangle
after cooking
after filling
put in the oven