Cannelloni (pl) are cylindrical Italian pasta resembling large reeds or tubes that are about 3 to 4 inches in length. This tube like pasta is generally mistaken with the Italian pasta called manicotti. It is usually baked with various stuffing of meat, cheese or vegetables and cooked in tomato based sauces or white and cream sauces. Though this pasta can be baked directly with a sauce of choice, there are some types that need to be boiled before they are baked. There are many types of the pasta easily available in the market, not only in Italy but in markets across the world. This pasta can also be made with lasagna sheets, which are cut into small pieces and then rolled to form tubes. Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni, Three Meat Cannelloni Bake, Beef Cannelloni and Ricotta and Meat Cannelloni are a few popular recipes of this pasta.
The origin of Cannelloni dates back to around 1907, when Nicola Federico, a well-known chef from Naples, Italy, invented this pasta. He created it while working at the La Favoria, a popular restaurant of Sorrento, Italy. Initially, this tubular pasta was called “strascinati”, which soon came to be known by the name that is popular today – Cannelloni. It gained popularity when the residents of Naples fled to Sorrento, during World War II, which is when they got introduced to this pasta. Today, most restaurants across the world prepare various cannelloni dishes.
This pasta pairs well with certain ingredients such as -
- Meats (beef, pork, veal)
- Cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan)
- Vegetables (most vegetables such as carrots, celery; especially pairs well with spinach)
- Sauces (tomato sauce, tomato passatta, béchamel sauce, cream sauces)
- Herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, bay leaves)
Cannelloni pairs well with various wines such as –
- Cotes de Provence
- Soave Classico
- Coteaux de Triscastin
- Chinati Classico
- Blanquette de Limoux
Cannelloni is generally confused with Manicotti, Italian pasta that is similar in shape but is shorter in length. Though, many people use them interchangeably in various traditional Italian preparations; the main difference between the two is that manicotti is made fresh like a crepe with the help of crepe pan. These crepes are filled with a stuffing of choice (meats, cheese, or vegetables) and then cooked in a sauce base and it pairs well with mozzarella cheese. On the other hand cannelloni are readily available tubular pasta that are filled with a stuffing and choice and then baked.
Popular Cannelloni Recipes
Detailed here are a couple of popular recipes of cannelloni pasta –
- Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni – This is a delicious baked pasta dish. Pour tomato passatta in a greased pan and top with stuffed cannelloni tubes (this can be made by rolling small pieces of lasagna sheet as well). The stuffing mixture includes ingredients such as ricotta, parmesan, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Pour more tomato passatta on top of the stuffed pasta tubes. Sprinkle cheese (ricotta and parmesan) on top and bake the dish. This is best eaten hot accompanied by a green salad.
- Three Meat Cannelloni Bake – This is a rich baked pasta dish that is made with three different types of meat. Ground beef, veal and pork are added to sautéed onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cooked in a little white wine. The meat mixture is flavored with bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. The contents are cooked till the meat mixture is done and set aside to cool, after removing the bay leaf. Meanwhile, prepare a parsley flavored white sauce. Theeggs are mixed with the cooled meat mixture and cheese and parsley sauce are added. The cannelloni tubes are filled with the meat mixture and arranged in a greased dish and topped with tomato sauce and cream mixture. Parmesan cheese is sprinkled and the dish is baked till the cheese browns well.
- Uncooked cannelloni tube was used as an instrument by Peter Schickele, the American composer who named it as “pastaphone” and used it like a horn. This can be seen in the compositions of P. D. Q. Bach, the fictional composer.
- December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day and the day after Christmas is a holiday in Catalonia and this day is celebrated with a big feast, wherein, cannelloni are stuffed with ground turkey or capon meat that is leftover from the previous day.
- A type kidney beans called Cannelloni beans, is used in various Italian preparations.