Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Part Three of Italian Cooking

Today I'm still talking about pasta.  Only today I'm talking about stuffed or filled pasta.  The ones that come to mind quickly are ravioli, tortellini, cannelloni and manicotti.  There are also stuffed large shells, cappelletti fantasia and tortelli which is similar to the tortellini already mentioned.

These pastas can be stuffed with many different types of fillings.  Ravioli for example can be found or made most often with a meat or cheese filling.  But there are many places where you can find seafood, mushroom or squash filling too.  As with many things you're only limited by your imagination.  Tomorrow's recipe is for "Homemade Ravioli" and it comes with both a meat and cheese filling to use.  The recipe uses the "Homemade Pasta" recipe from a few weeks ago.

Remember that both recipes will take a little practice before you are comfortable making them.  But it is worth the effort.  You'll have fun and it becomes something you can make the rest of your life.  You could even pass it on to family and friends because you have mastered it.  Enjoy making it with someone and maybe a bottle of wine too.

I mentioned cannelloni and manicotti earlier too.  They are basically the same thing only different.  It depends on where you are (America or Italy).  Cannelloni is usually made using pasta sheets and rolling them with a filling inside and then topped with a sauce.  Manicotti uses a dry pasta tube that is cooked like spaghetti, then  filled and sauced before baking.  In this day and age, it is easier to find and use the tubes so both can be made using either pasta.

There is another big difference between cannelloni and manicotti as well.  Traditionally cannelloni is filled with a meat or vegetable filling and topped with a cream or marinara sauce (non-meat or vegetable).  Where as manicotti is filled with a cheese filling of some kind and topped with a meat or vegetable sauce.

Both of cannelloni and manicotti are then baked once they have been assembled before being served.  They are both usually topped off with cheese before that baking process.  Also remember to let them set for about 10 minutes before serving too.

Thursday will have the recipe for "Cannelloni with Meat Filling."  Because the recipe calls for a "Bechamel Sauce", a recipe for it will appear on Friday.

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