About this Recipe
We combined a few favorites to come up with this recipe. We are using this recipe Potato Cottage Cheese Filling as the filling for the cannelloni. You can easily omit the sausage if you don't eat meats. For those that enjoy meats, adding the slices of sausage to the top then baking, allows the juices from the sausage to get absorbed into the "pierogi flavored cannelloni".
Cannelloni is traditionally a part of Italian cuisine and in Italian cooking they are stuffed with ricotta and spinach, sometimes minced beef and covered with tomato sauce and Bechamel sauce.
In this recipe, instead of making the dough for pierogi, we cooked the cannelloni noodles al dente and stuffed the filling into the noodles which was then baked in a casserole dish. It is a bit of a shortcut if you are looking for the pierogi flavor and are not in the mood to make the dough component of pierogi. When you serve, it has a very similar taste to pierogi.
1. Do not substitute ricotta cheese for dry curd cottage cheese in the filling if you are going for the 'pierogi' flavor.
2. We prepared the filling ahead of time and froze it but you can do the same day. You just need to let it cool to room temperature so you can handle it while you are stuffing the cannelloni.
3. When cooking the cannelloni, be sure not to overcook at is will break very easily if too soft.
4. Brushing butter between the layers keep the cannelloni from sticking together.
Recipe Makes 24 Stuffed Cannelloni
Filling Makes: 8 cups
Potato Cottage Cheese Filling:
6 large russet potatoes
1 medium size onion, diced
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon salted butter, cut into pieces
200kg cheese, mild, we use Monterey jack (about 1 cup when grated)
600 grams dry curd cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
250g package cannelloni pasta (more or less to the amount you actually make)
500g pre-cooked sausge of your choice
3 Tablespoons butter, melted to spread between each layer of cannelloni so they do not stick together
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. when ready to bake.
1. Start by washing the the potatoes. Boil whole with the skins still on. When the potatoes are cooked, you will be able to spear them with a knife that will go through the center easily, drain the water out. Let them sit until you can handle them then peel the skins off the potatoes and put them back into the pot you boiled them in.
3. While the potatoes are boiling prepare the onions. Dice onions into very small pieces . We used a Mandoline Slicer which makes the job take seconds, but you and also chop by hand.
3. Melt the butter into a frying pan, add the diced onions and cook until tender and just golden brown. Shut off. Set aside.
4. Grate the cheese with a medium fine grater into a bowl.
5. Using a hand potato masher, mash the butter and potatoes together working out the lumps. Add the cooked onions and mash in. Add the grated cheese and continue to mash in. The warmth of the potatoes will melt the cheese.
6. Put the dry curd cottage cheese into a large bowl. Break in the two eggs and stir together. Add the salt and stir in.
Note: Dry curd cottage cheese is very lumpy. Use a hand immersion blender to blend the eggs and cottage cheese curds into a smooth mass.
7. Fold the cheese mixture into the potato mixture until evenly combined. The filler is ready to use.
8. Cook the cannelloni pasta al dente. Check here for pasta instructions. How To Cook Pasta
9. Slice the sausage.
10. Stuff the cannelloni. You can either scoop in with a small spoon or we piped ours in. To pipe in you need to put the filling into a piping bag or you can use a Ziploc bag and cut a small opening on one corner to pipe through.
11. Melt the butter and set near your working station. Place the filled cannelloni into a baking dish, layering them and applying a light coating of butter on each layer to keep from sticking together.
12. Arrange the sausage on top. Cover with a lid and place into the preheated oven. Bake 30-35 minutes.
Serve hot. Delicious with sour cream.
Fun facts about Italian Cooking.
Olive oil is a staple in the South of Italy and Northern Italians favor dishes made with butter.
For "Authentic Italian dishes" it is imperative you use the correct ingredients.
Oval plum tomatoes are richer in flavor than regular round tomatoes.
Use Greek olives in the recipes for their flavor. American olives are cured differently and will effect the taste.
Veggies in parts of Italy are limited but those they have are superb. Native choices are baby globe artichokes, green and yellow peppers, baby eggplant and tiny zucchini.
Italian dishes are colorful and beautiful to look at. They have bright reds from tomatoes and pimentos, delicate cream shades from the pasta and are complimented by greens from spinach and artichoke. The visual appeal and aromas make Italian dishes popular.
Cuisine is simple including fresh flavors like fresh seafood drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with freshly squeezed lemon juice. There is simple antipasti made from thinly sliced smoked meats, with anchovies and local olives.
Sherbets, ice cream and Gelato are popular.
Popular when going out are lavishly decorated liqueur-drenched cakes. These can be smothered in rich cream and are even served mid-morning or as and afternoon treat, popular with a good Italian coffee.
Daily home desserts more commonly are fresh fruits, cheese and a simple cake.
References: Grand Diplome Cooking Course (1972, Hardcover), William Anne. Danbury Press.