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Cannelloni and roasted tomatoes

Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

Pasta so fresh and so clean

I recently learned about the ulnar nerve, or rather what it was called. The rolling out of fresh pasta dough with my French rolling pin are what led to my enlightenment. After about 30 minutes of trying to roll the life out of the dough get the dough thin enough, I noticed that the outer edge of my right palm and pinky had gone numb! In response to my tweet about this, Victoria said it was the ulnar nerve: Point of Enlightenment. 25 out of my 30 years have been spent making music with my hands and I was unaware of this term. Now which makes you smarter, cooking or music?

filling cannelloni

This challenge was great because it forced me to finally make pasta. Aside from the numbness issue, it really wasn’t difficult! The main challenge was preparing all the components (pasta, filling, sauce) in a timely manner. This is how it went down last week:

Tuesday: groceries purchased.
Wednesday: 1) made dough, 2) made filling, 3) washed dishes, 4) made bechamel, 5) washed dishes, 6) ate a TV dinner because it got too late, 7) washed more dishes.
Thursday: 1) rolled out pasta dough, 2) attempted to cut big enough rectangles, 3) boiled pasta sheets, 4) assembled and baked cannelloni, 5) ate cannelloni (victory achieved!), 6) washed more dishes.

Manu provided us with four recipes, two of which were vegetarian. I almost went with the pesto one (each cannelloni gets a few potato slices and ONE green bean…cute!). However, Manu said the spinach recipe (cannelloni di magro) was her “absolute favorite”, plus the ingredients were a bit cheaper.

Toni Cannelloni

These cannelloni are filled with a spinach, ricotta, parmesan mixture, then covered in bechamel, and sprinkled with more parmesan. Sounds good, right? You bet! It’s a lot of white, but the pieces of green inside make you feel like your meal is more balanced. Speaking of, thanks to Maddie for her delicious impromptu roasted tomatoes! I often forget to make side dishes when it comes to challenges like these. The tomatoes provided the perfect contrast in flavor and color, but more importantly served as eyes for our plates of cannelloni faces.

It feels good to eat a meal that you’ve made completely from scratch, right down to the pasta. Grazie mille, Manu! I’ll have to try the pesto version next time. If you’d like to see the recipes, find them in Manu’s challenge write-up.

There is green in this meal.

p.s. The numbness in my hand lasted for two hours. How awesome is that?!