Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cannelloni Ripieni di Carne e Mozzarella ( Cannelloni With a Beef and Mozzarella Filling! Simply the BEST!)




I really wish I hadn't had to wear a tutu`! Why is it, that every time I was a bridesmaid I was made to wear that short little white tutu`, with white socks and hairband with bow! Why did that lovely wedding photo have to be spoilt by the fact that my mother had to take me to her hairdresser and have my beautiful very light blond hair cut? How much I cried, inside, nobody ever knew... my lovely hair on the floor... dead, lifeless... why?
But the weddings were always beautiful (my cousins' weddings always were!) and I can still smell the sweet scent of gardenias and fresh orange blossom and I still get that sense of excitement deep within me, when I remember. I loved weddings and, more than everything, I loved seeing my mum and dad on the dance floor, doing all the old fashioned Latin American "numbers."  My dad always asked me to dance with him, once or twice. I was so little, I had to stand and dance with my feet on his shoes. We would twirl and laugh together, until I lost my balance. Then he would pick me up, hold me in his arms and do a Tango with me!
Weddings were special occasions and the menu, when I was little was always the same and it included lasagne or cannelloni, as a pasta course!
Wedding menus are now much more varied and just unbelievable! Cannelloni, when I was little, wasn't a dish we would normally have at home. It was confined to weddings, until... weddings became very expensive and sophisticated  and cannelloni became a dish relegated to everyday Italian cooking, or part of a Sunday lunch.
My mother would never had made cannelloni, maybe because she didn't like meat, especially if it was minced  ( cannelloni are very big pasta tubes, usually filled with minced beef) so... as a teenager, I made the dish for my family. Big success! Everyone loved it and, as my mother wouldn't make it, it was always up to me to prepare it, every now and then (often on a Sunday!)
I would never have ricotta in my cannelloni (they sell these ready made in supermarkets in UK and in the USA: not nice!) I find anything filled with ricotta,  heavy, the texture is too soft and as interesting and exciting as eating slugs. No, thanks! I make my filling with meat, and I also created my own vegetarian version, where, instead of meat, I use diced courgettes (zucchine.) It's delicious! If you wish to, before baking the dish, you can cover it with a layer of Bechamel sauce (I very often do!)
Here is my recipe for Cannelloni Ripieni di Manzo Tritato.
Cannelloni Ripieni
Ingredients:
  
(Serves 4)
16 cannelloni tubes
300 g (10 oz) lean minced beef
1 egg
4 slices of white bread
or: 200g ( 7 oz) bread
a very small onion
2 small mozzarelle, diced
some parsley
salt
black pepper
a generous handful of Pecorino
or Parmesan cheese


For the sauce:
Ingredients:


6-7 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion
a few pieces of pancetta
700 mls  (1 and half small cartons) passata
a handful of Pecorino
or Parmesan Cheese
Sprig of basil
salt


Before you make your cannelloni filling, make the tomato sauce. I heated some olive oil in a medium saucepan. Next I added a small amount of pancetta, cut into small pieces and let it cook until golden. This was followed by my onion, which I had previously chopped and, when this was golden and translucent, I was ready to add my passata.






 When my sauce came to the boil, I turned down the heat and let it cook for at least 25 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, I added some basil and a lovely big handful of grated cheese! This is the simplest of sauces and is so delicate! Please don't use garlic in this, as a garlic based sauce is pungent and not as delicate tasting (it can spoil a dish!)






While my sauce was cooling down (it needs to be cold, otherwise the cannelloni will crack!) I made the filling, by heating a small amount of olive oil (you can use butter instead, if you prefer.) To this I added my beef, which I let brown very slightly, followed by the onion, finely chopped.  






I let these ingredients combine. As the flavours mingled, I could smell a wonderful, kind of homely smell, much improved by the addition of my grated cheese, salt, pepper and some parsley. Having mixed these ingredients together, I was ready to add my bread, torn into very small pieces (no crust!) and one egg. I quickly incorporated the last two ingredients, to make a soft mixture. After five minutes or so, I took my pan off the heat, as the filling needed to be cold, like the sauce, if I wanted my pasta to stay whole!






When I was ready to fill each of my cannelloni, I chopped a mozzarella into small dice and added to the beef mixture, which was so delicious, I could actually have eaten it there and then.





I placed my filled cannelloni in an oven-to-table dish, made sure it was covered by a very generous layer of my delicious tomato sauce, and sprinkled more cheese on the top ( a layer of bechamel sauce improves the flavour and texture of this very delicate dish.) Be generous with the sauce, otherwise the top of your dish will stay hard and dry (not nice!)



 



I made a silver foil lid for my dish and baked in a moderate oven (200C /400F/gas6  ) until the sauce was bubbling up. 







Towards the end of cooking, I removed the "lid" so the top of the dish would brown. You will know when your cannelloni is cooked, by testing it: if the fork sinks into the side of a cannellone, then it's done! I think about three or four per person is the right amount, though when I was a teenager... I... ate... I'd better not tell how many!




MY COURGETTE SIDE DISH
As you can see, I also made a little side dish, by  slicing two courgettes into thin ribbons, with a vegetable peeler.




 I then fried two garlic loves in olive oil, with lots of lovely red chilli pepper. When the garlic was a nice golden colour, I added my courgettes and cooked for 3 or 4 minutes. I can't tell you how delicious it tasted, but... you can guess, can't you?

38 comments:

  1. Hello Anna

    It is a peaceful, calm Sunday morning and the church bells are ringing. How I wish I was coming over to your home for this Sunday and festive dish.
    It looks delicious and in your usual manner, you have made it simple by your concise steps and preparation suggestions.

    We had dinner at a great local restaurant on Friday. As a side dish I choose "rappini with chic peas". My friend choose as her side "roasted brussels sprouts". I have been dreaming of the rappini dish since and I was thinking to myself when I saw it, I bet Anna would know exactly what ingredients were in this.

    Wishing you a joyful Sunday and a week of fun

    Helen

    PS. Again you have reminded me of my mother, when you spoke of your blonde hair on the hairdresser's floor.
    When Ma went to hospital to have Child No. 5 of 7,she left my two sisters and I with her sister Greta. My mother loved long hair and all three of us had waist length hair, blonde and in braids.
    When she returned with Baby No. 5, we had hair above our ears. Aunt Greta felt short hair was better on children and thus began the feud between the two sisters.

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  2. Hi Helen!

    If you type "Orecchiette baresi con cime di rape" in my blog search, you'll find two recipes I cooked using what you call "rapini." One of them is, in fact, Cime di rape (or broccoli di rape, or rapini) with fagioli (beans.) I think what you ate at the reastaurant, with chick peas, would have been similar to this dish.

    I love it when you talk about your family and your home, where you grew up, in Ireland. I remember your painting of the cottage by the sea... wonderful!

    If I had been your mother, I would have been really cross with Greta, too! It's a real shock, for a child, to have their hair chopped off, for no reason. I have always had my hair long, like yours, Helen, and I like to wear it down, unless I am in Italy, where it's just too hot for long hair! I love long hair!

    Which brings me to my goodbyes: I'm off to Italy next Thursday and I'll try to post once or twice, if I can. I will be reading from My Blog List, and comment, if I can.

    Your last post is interesting... expect a comment, soon! That bag thing... I don't know!

    HAPPY SUNDAY AND... NEXT WEEK!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. PS: HELEN!

      The Rape e fagioli recipe is in the post: That's amore! Sorry, I gave the wrong information!

      ANNA
      x

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  3. Hi Anna,

    I found your totally refreshing and eminently sensible comment to Helen Tilston's post on a God Envelope, and felt I must come and see who you are. That I got an excellent recipe into the bargain is an extra bonus.

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    1. Hello!

      This is very nice, indeed! It also comes at a time when I'm beginning to think I might be a bit mad! Thank you very much for thinking I'm refreshing and sensible... THANK YOU! I love this compliment!

      If you look through my blog, you will find lots more recipes, maybe not as traditional as this one, but all of them delicious!

      It was lovely receiving your comment!

      Happy SUNDAY EVENING! BUONASERA!

      ANNA

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  4. Your recipes always look delicious Anne. Although I just had dinner, I would love to taste it!

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

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    1. Then make it! Not today... it's too late, now! But do try it. It's really fun to make!

      A new week is about to start... hope it's a good one for you, too!

      ANNA
      xx

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  5. My sweet Anna
    What a great recipe! It is the favorite dish of my children. Sure , I do not always succeed, because ,I guess , I put a little sauce! Yours looks great and delicious! In the future I'll make your reciepe as you describe . And now I am so hungry but is night and I'll eat only a yought !
    Olympia

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    1. Hello Olympia... dear Olympia! So, your children like Italian food! It's good to know!

      Yes, Olympia, unless you use plenty of sauce, your cannelloni will be very hard and not really edible, will they? They need some kind of liquid, as it is just pasta, at the end of the day, and pasta cooks in water (or sauce, in this case!)

      I love Greek yoghurt (FAGE is my favourite!) Though, I have to admit: buffalo yoghurt from the Campania region of Italy is not easy to beat! I love it and can eat lots of it. Buffalo milk ricotta, too, is pretty yummy and special!

      BUONA NOTTE!

      ANNA

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  6. Dearest Anna,
    I am late in commenting,please forgive me! once again a superb recipe for cannelloni... I love cannelloni..my mother used to make it with my sister, who at that time was married to Mario from Catanzaro!He was always in the kitchen, singing Italian songs and cooking away. We ate Italian food some of the days, and from there on every week there was some form of pasta cooking in my kitchen. That was many years ago. I now like to make myself the simple vegeterian canneloni..If I make it for the family I use mince meat. i love it, I must take care not too eat too much, as i will put on too much weight.
    What a lovely story about the weddings. Someone should bring back the great old traditions of Italy and have a cannelloni wedding!. The Italians can sure show the rest of the world how to have a wedding.
    You must have felt awful when your hear was cut off.. I know that feeling.
    From what i see now..your hair is long and beautiful ..
    Wishing you happy days Anna.
    Buona journo..
    hugs .. val

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    1. Dear Val,

      I'm afraid that cannelloni is no longer special, but it's just everyday food. And I can see why. People are now more sophisticated and, in Southern Italy, we don't really go for food which is too meaty and heavy. You would like my vegetarian cannelloni. No ricotta... just courgette, as a substitute for the minced beef, which I am not keen on. Very good, indeed! Though, vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean healthier, especially when butter or fats (instead of olive il) are used in the preparation.

      It is sad, Val, but in Italy, since the advent of USA soaps, new "traditions" have been adopted: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, the garter and even iced cakes (Italiands don't even like icing!) I think it's ridiculous! Next, they'll be having burgers and French fries on wedding menues! As the ancient Romans would have said: "DE GUSTIBUS!"

      Carry on enjoying your Summer. I'm off on Thursday!

      ARRIVEDERCI

      ANNA

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  7. Dear Anna - sorry I am late to the table, but hope you have saved a plate of food for me.
    I love your description of the tutu - I am sure that you actually looked really sweet and pretty in it and that is why they kept dressing you up in it. I was hoping you might show the picture!!!
    I was the complete opposite about my long hair. I was dying to have my plaited hair cut off and be like the other girls, but no, my mother and my grandmother were against it. I also wanted a fringe, but that was not allowed either.
    I have to admit that I have tasted cannelloni frequently in Italy but to my shame I have never made it. Now you have given us such an easy to follow recipe I will definitely give it a try.
    Ciao♥

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    1. Dear Rosemary,

      The photo is in Italy and I remember it very vividly, as I look kind of lost in it and a bit shy. My mum kept telling everyone I was shy "E` timida!" she would say, and I remember thinking :"I wish she wouldn't say that!"

      In the photo, my mum is wearing an outfit I loved: navy blue, with printed dark green roses: it was beautiful and I know I always hope I'm going to walk into a shop and find a dress just the same!One of the girls in Sex and the City wore a similar print and outfit, only in white, with green roses!

      My hair didn't look very nice, that's why I felt embarrassed. Even now, I would feel naked witout my long hair!

      I think it's worth making your own cannelloni. It's so easy: you don't even have to cook your pasta before baking it! And you can make up your own fillings, like I do, sometimes: courgette, or aubergine, peppers, instead of meat but... plenty of sauce and Bechamel, if you like it! I do!

      Buona notte!

      ANNA
      xx

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  8. Hello Anna, first you tell the most lovely story about your childhood and your mother and weddings. I wish I had experienced weddings like this with the scent of gardenias and orange blossoms, it is so lovely to hear about it. And your dancing with your father. Actually I was very touched. It made me remember good things too.

    - and then you give us the most wonderful recipe of cannelloni.
    I can only say thank you very much or Grazias signora!(Is that spelled right?)
    Grethe `)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Grethe and thank you so much for a most beautiful comment. I feel that scents are very important in life: they are the key which opens the door into the past. Wonderful! For some reason, gardenias remind me of my dad. My first memory, too, is connected with my father.

      I'm off to Italy tomorrow, but I'll try to stay in touch with my blogging friends.

      PS: Seeing as you asked about the final sentence, in correct Italian it goes: "GRAZIE, SIGNORA!" You got half of it right, so: "BRAVA, SIGNORA!"

      HAPPY SUMMER...

      ANNA
      xx

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  9. Achei seu blog na blogosfera.
    E adoreii!

    Já estou te seguindo..
    Me visite tbm
    http://lidiepaulo.blogspot.com.br

    Beijocas
    Ótima Semana \º/

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    1. Ti saluto dall'Italia, dove fa tanto caldo, oggi! Benvenuta al mio blog. Ora visiterò il tuo.

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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    2. Ti saluto dall'Italia, dove fa tanto caldo, oggi! Benvenuta al mio blog. Ora visiterò il tuo.

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  10. What a lovely story to go with another of your wonderful recipes.

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    1. Hello Lindy! Here I am, in Modugno, Bari, at my sister's! Hot, sunny and just beautiful! I feel very happy here... so lovely!

      I'm glad you liked my story.

      Happy Weekend!

      ANNA
      xxx

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    2. We are having an amazing summer which I hope you are still enjoying every minute of Anna. xx

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  11. Dear Anna, I'm trying to catch up and read my favourite blogs, so I'm reading this before breakfast and it'a made me so hungry and just LONG for cannelloni for breakfast! I must have a try. I do make a courgette side dish similar to yours. I love making the ribbons.
    Your description of the weddings of your childhood sounded so wonderful and rather more fun the the slightly stiff affairs I remember from mine!
    I hope you are well and happy my dear and have had a good sunny weekend and there is a happy week ahead for you.
    Jane xxx

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    1. Ciao Jane!

      I am here in italy, listening to my beloved john Lennon, as I write. I can hear traffic outside, as the city is waking up, after the afternoon break.

      Cannelloni for breakfast is a very bad idea, Jane! Please don't!


      40C this weekend, with a hot wind from North Africa. Just the way I love it!

      ANNA

      xx

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    2. Just a quick hello again Anna-I've just chosen your blog for an award. I hope that is o.k. with you. Please do pop over and have a look! Jane xx
      ps. It has finally been hot here, I love the sunshine and warmth, everything smells of holidays!

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  12. Replies
    1. Salve Fernando! Ti saluto dall'Italia, molto bella e molto calda!

      Ciao e grazie!

      ANNA

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  13. Ciao Anna, passo per un saluto veloce; purtroppo impegni vari ma soprattutto un virus molto forte, mi stà creando problemi sul pc....spero di tornare quanto prima. Ciao a presto! Francesca

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    1. Ciao francesca,

      Ti invio un saluto dall'Italia. Che bel pomeriggio di sole, come al solito. Sembra che il fine settimana sarà caldissimo. So che odi l'estate, ma ti assicuro che vivere in un Paese dobe è inverno tutto l'anno ti manda in paranoia. Sto tanto bene qui, al caldo, sotto il sole e il cielo più bello.

      Riposa e buona fortuna con i problemi di PC

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  14. ciaooooo carissima grazie per essere passata complimenti piatti splendidi mi hai fatto venir fameeeeeee buon fine settimana

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    1. Gvanna... mamma mia che caldo in questi giorni (sono in Italia!)

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  15. Replies
    1. Cio Carlo e grazie per il saluto!

      Questo fine settimana saremo nel Cilento.

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  16. Yes, I can guess! I all looks and sounds fabulous, Anna! I was not surprised to read that cannelloni was were a fancy dish as to me they still are! I like the idea with the zucchini stuffing and may cook that when it gets a bit cooler here (it's hot like in Southern Italy... 37°C...) It's wonderful to read about your mum and dad loving and respecting each other... it was the same in my home - my parents sometimes danced at 6 am, when good music was on during breakfast. Lovely and tempting pics as always. Are you still in Italy and how did the house business go? I am very curious... Ciao et bella giornata e BMH&B Christa

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    1. Ciao Christa! You probably won't see this! I'm in Italy, at my sister's house and it's just lovely. Back in UK this weekend and hopefully I will manage to start posting again.
      We had no internet in Campania and we were only there for two or so weeks. I found it a bit quiet, having spent time with my family here in Puglia. It's such a wonderful place!
      speak to you soon, Christa!
      Sorry for any mistakes... guess what? I lost my glasses again!

      BMH&B
      ANNA
      xx

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  17. The food looks delicious but the photograph that I would really like to see is of you as a bridesmaid in white tutu and socks!

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  18. Well... someone has it, somewhere! I can tell you I don't look very happy in it. My hair is very blond and very short. I think I look a bit like a scarecrow with very thin little legs and short socks! Very uncool!

    CIAO!

    ANNA

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  19. Mille grazie, carissima Anna for your comment! It is wonderful to hear from you! I have been preserving tomatoes all weekend long and often thought of you! I felt like an Italian casalinga doing all this! So cosy and heartwarming - my boys loved having pasta with the sauce and tomorrow I am going to make ragu with the rest of the sauce. We will have it with penne as we all think it soaks the sauce so well. Ciao e buona serrata e BMH&B, Christa

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  20. Sounds yummy, Christa! I think I posted my mum's recipe for ragù di carne con braciole, here on my blog. It's a really good one! If you type the word "ragù" in the search "bit" or "braciole," you'll find it.

    I remember the first time I commented on your blog was a year ago, when you, again, preserved some tomatoes.

    HAPPY WEEK, CHRISTA!

    BMH&B

    ANNA xxx

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