It seems to me that Cannelloni has somewhat fallen out of favor. I remember enjoying it plenty when I was a child (unfortunately that’s some time ago now). These days I rarely see or hear of people making them – I think that’s a shame so I have decided to start a Cannelloni revival!
I must admit I am a sucker for stuffing things. I love taking a piece of meat and filling it with something delicious, rolling it up and then cutting in to it to reveal it’s secrets. It’s lovely to find something else hidden inside, it’s exciting!
Cannelloni are the perfect vessels for stuffing. The possibilities are endless. Cannelloni does not have to mean those limp mince beef filled ready meals that fill the supermarket shelves. Oh no no no…..use your imagination folks, you could stuff them with absolutely anything you like!
Now the only minor set back with the dried cannelloni tubes you get is that they can be fiddly to fill. They are not terribly wide and so your filling needs to be judged accordingly. It can’t be too chunky and it needs to be moist but not too wet. It’s not rocket science but it does need to be considered.
Perhaps the reason Cannelloni no longer enjoys the popularity of the past is that they take more time to make, time we don’t seem to have these days. Unlike other types of pasta which we would consider to be for quick easy suppers, cannelloni requires a little more effort. But in my opinion they are worth it and if you can spare the extra 30 minutes, then they won’t disappoint you.
I have two Cannelloni recipes to share with you and I am kicking things off with a vegetarian version: Cannelloni Stuffed with Leeks & Brie. This dish came about because I had half a round of brie lurking in the fridge needing to be used up. As much as I enjoy eating brie on its own, I absolutely adore using it in cooking as it gives such a luxurious creaminess and unctuous oozy texture to things.
The leeks are cooked with some thyme and once cooled a little, chunks of brie are added with a tablespoon of ricotta, just enough to bind the mixture together ready for stuffing. Once the tubes are lovingly filled they are covered with a creamy garlic tomato sauce and baked. Just a few simple ingredients which come together to make a wonderfully tasty dish for all the family. Honestly, you just can’t resist pasta this good!
Next I wanted to make a seafood version as once again, I found myself with some leftovers that needed using up. In the past I have found most seafood lasagnes disappointingly bland so my mission was to improve upon those.
Cannelloni Stuffed with Salmon & Prawns was my response and it most certainly did not lack in flavor. I used a few handfuls of those teeny weeny frozen prawns you can buy which really pack a seafood punch, mixed with some flaked salmon, broccoli, grated courgette and bound together with a couple of tablespoons of garlic and herb cheese, it made a delicious and powerful seafood stuffing.
And the seafood sauce for the topping set it all off beautifully. Taken from Food.com, posted by MizzNezz, it is a simple sauce made with tomato juice, milk, sherry and cream which complimented the fishy stuffing perfectly. This dish was lip smackingly good and my husband and I seriously had to restrain ourselves from eating the whole lot which should have been enough for four! This dish kicked those bland seafood lasagnes to the curb for sure! (I would have had lots of lovely photos of the cooking process but right at the end, my husband came in and pointed out that the memory card was missing from the camera! So we just managed a couple – sorry!)
I hope that you are inspired to join in with my revival of cannelloni. Louisa over on Chez Foti recently posted a wonderful recipe for Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni so she is with me on this one!
If you have some long forgotten cannelloni tubes abandoned in your cupboard, pull them out and show them some love! Be inspired, get creative and stuff them full of glorious goodies and cry ‘Holy Moly, fabulous Cannelloni!’
Now who’s with me?
I am entering these recipes into some blog challenges. Firstly, Credit Crunch Munch as both versions of these cannelloni used some left overs I had to use up. The challenge is co-hosted by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours.
Secondly, I am entering them both for the first time into Flavours Of Italy – a challenge hosted this month by Divya from Divya’s Culinary Journey, who is guest hosting the event for Nayna from Simply.Food. This challenge is all bout Italian food so I am sure my Cannelloni fit the bill.