Friday, 25 January 2013
I hadn't made cannelloni for so long that Jeb didn't even know what it was. He liked very bland food when he and I first got together about 14 years ago. He still prefers it mostly bland but his horizons have broadened considerably since then so I thought, okay, maybe it's time to try this again. Maybe he's ready. He's learned to like similar things after all.
I couldn't remember what all I used to put in cannelloni so I searched for a good recipe online. None looked quite like what I used to do, but some were close so I got the general gist and gave up on trying to find an exact recipe. What I ended up doing, though, resulted in an exact recipe. For the filling you need:
1/4 lbs mild Italian ground sausage
1/4 lbs ground beef
1 medium sized sweet onion, finely chopped
Minced garlic to taste... My taste called for approximately 2 TBSPs. I'm awfully fond of garlic.
A bundle of fresh baby spinach, chopped up reasonably fine but throw out the stems. It's the leafage you want. Don't use canned spinach. Canned spinach is disgusting. No really: DISGUSTING. Fresh is what you want.
2 or 3 TBSPs Italian seasoning: mixture of basil, thyme, parsley, and sage. I tend to get carried away with this stuff.
1 TBSP fennel seed
1 cup of mixed, shredded Italian cheeses (adagio, parmesan, romano, mozzarella) and a little cheddar jack
1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese. I like cottage cheese better for the texture and flavor. Cream cheese is also a likely substitute. I still like cottage cheese best.
Get out a long glass baking dish, warm it with hot water on a towel to ensure it doesn't crack when you transition it. Dump out the hot water and pour a little Preggo Garden Style spaghetti sauce in the bottom... half the jar. Mush together the filling ingredients in a bowl with your hands-sans-rings. Stuff manicotti noodles with it, laying each down filled in the baking dish. Top with the remainder of the Preggo sauce, cover with foil, shiny side down, and bake for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit. Sprinkle some of the shredded Italian cheese mixture on top just before serving.
OMG it was delicious! Even my fussy Jeb liked it. Imagine that....