Monday, October 20, 2014

Cannelloni with Sausage and Peppers Made With Heartland Oven Ready Lasagna

Cannelloni or Manicotti? What do you call it? The only real difference is that Manicotti is made with preformed pasta tubes and Cannelloni is made with rectangular pasta sheets or crepes. Back in my gluten-eating days, I made Manicotti quite often, loved it! I have yet to find gluten-free Manicotti shells, so I chose to make Cannelloni with Heartland Oven Ready Lasagna. I smothered them in a savory bechamel sauce instead of the typical tomato sauce. It turned out amazing!

This recipe makes 6 good sized Cannelloni. Double or triple it if you have a crowd to please!


  • 6 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn or arrowroot starch
  • 1 tablespoon sweet rice flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 egg yolks beaten (optional, but adds richness to the sauce)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (rosemary and thyme are great choices)

Place the beaten egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper, set aside.

For the pasta sheets:
In a large pan, large enough to fit 2 lasagna sheets side by side, add an inch of water and bring to a boil. Place 2 lasagna sheets into the water and cook for 7 minutes or until pliable but still al dente.

You don't want them too soft, they may break while rolling. I flipped mine every 2 minutes to ensure they were cooked evenly. Also, try to keep them from lying on top of one another, they could stick together. You have to baby sit them.
When the pasta is al dente, remove and place them on the baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap so they don't dry out. Continue to cook the remaining lasagna sheets in the same way. If you have more than one layer, place plastic wrap between them so they don't stick together! It is nearly impossible to pull them apart without breaking them, learn from my mistake!

In a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped peppers and onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes just to soften the veggies and give them some color. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute or so, try not to brown the garlic.
Now add the Italian sausage and cook until browned and cooked through. Remove the sausage and veggies and set aside.

For the Bechamel:
In the same pan, add the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan then add the butter and the Italian herbs.

Combine the milk, starch and sweet rice flour, stir well. Slowly pour this mixture into the pan and bring to a low boil, stirring often to avoid lumps. Continue to cook until thickened and bubbly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of the hot sauce to the bowl of egg yolks whisking constantly so you don't scramble the eggs. This is called tempering.
Return the egg yolk and sauce mixture to the pan and whisk to combine.

Sprinkle in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and smooth.

Stir 1/3 cup or so of the sauce into the bowl of sausage and peppers. Then add a thin layer of the sauce to your baking dish.

Assembling the Cannelloni:
Place one of the lasagna sheets on a small plate and place 1/4 cup of the meat filling onto the front edge of the sheet and roll up.

Place the pasta roll into your prepared pan.

Continue until all of the lasagna sheets are used.

Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the Cannelloni and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and place under your broiler until the cheese is golden.


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