Beef (or Turkey) Canneloni

I learned about canneloni from a package of egg roll wrappers. You may recall my recent foray into homemade egg rolls. Turns out I had wrappers left over. What to do? The package recommended treating the wrappers like pasta, making yummy Italian food with them. This makes sense--there's an old and revered connection between Chinese food and Italian pasta, right? So I gave it a shot. The result was so good that one household member suggested banning lasagna from now on, and only making canneloni. These do fill the same melty comfort-food niche as lasagna, yet are somehow more manageable and compact. Basically it's like lasagna ingredients rolled up into individual tubes rather than being in massive goopy layers. I made these twice, once with ground beef and once with ground turkey. Both kinds were great.

Ingredients

  • splash olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • basil
  • oregano
  • 2 sundried tomato halves, chopped
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup (or more) frozen/cooked spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 10 square egg roll wrappers
  • 1/2 jar favorite pasta sauced (I tried Marinara, then Sausage)
  • 1/2 pound grated mozzarella (or cheddar) cheese

Assembly

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Sauté the onion in olive oil, then add the garlic. When aromatic, add the beef or turkey and mix thoroughly. Brown the meat, then add the herbs and tomato halves. If you're using ground beef, drain off the grease. (I saved mine to add flavor to crockpot chili.)

3. In a 9x13 glass lasagna pan, put a little oil or sauce on the bottom, then start assembling canneloni as follows.



Take one wrapper and put a line of ricotta across the middle.


Add a spoonful of spinach and a dash of parmesan.


Next add about 1 T of the meat mixture. (I am a little obsessive so I like to divide my meat into equal parts beforehand so I know it'll come out exactly even.)
Also, moisten the far side of the wrapper with a fingerful of water.



Fold the wrapper away from you over the filling, then roll it up and seal the far edge, making a tube.

Line all the canneloni up in your pan.




Cover with sauce and cheese. You're ready to bake! Oh wait, cover it with foil before putting it in the oven.


Bake for about 40 minutes, until thoroughly bubbly. You can remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes or so to brown the top or sides a bit.

Serve with a salad and dinner is complete! One note: I claim these are "compact," but they actually fall apart somewhat once cooked. By that I mean, don't get too attached to the individual nature of the canneloni. To serve, just guess about where the canneloni divides and spoon up a big steaming mass of it onto the plate. This is not supposed to be a "tidy" dish.

2 comments:

ValleyWriter said...

Looks yummy!
I'm a little attached to making my own pasta now... but this seems like a great alternative for a weeknight dinner.

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks VW! I bet you could totally roll your own pasta-wise--could the long sheets you make before cutting be made into squares?