When I first sat down to look over this recipe, I thought I should be able to get it made in about an hour and a half. Wow, that was not even close. This ended up taking me almost 3 hours to finish. The final product was outstanding, but I am really glad that I didn’t try to make this on a weeknight for dinner. The good news is that Marcella states that this whole recipe can be made ahead and then baked off up to two days later. That would make this a great recipe for a big family dinner.
This recipe has 4 major components, the Béchamel sauce, the filling, the pasta, and the meat sauce. Ground chuck is used in the filling and the sauce. The filling also contains chopped boiled ham, onions, egg yolks, ricotta, parmigiano cheese and a little nutmeg. The sauce is mainly the ground chuck, onion and canned tomatoes. The sauce is supposed to cook down for 45 minutes, but mine went much longer than that. I think that was why it was a wee bit dry by the time that I put everything together.
The pasta was made just like the last few postings, where the pasta is parboiled and then rinsed and then dried off before it is used for the dish. The recipe calls for the pasta to be rolled out to the thinnest possible layer and I did that, but I think next time I will make it a little bit thicker, because I had a hard time rolling the cannelloni without tearing them. This recipe calls for the pasta sheet to be placed on a plate containing some of the béchamel sauce, then the filling added and spread to almost cover the sheet, then the pasta is rolled up jellyroll style and placed in the pan. The béchamel on the outside of the rolls help to keep everything moist. Once all of the rolls are made then they are covered with the meat sauce and then the rest of the béchamel. This is baked for 15 minutes.
I really enjoyed the flavors of the final product. All of the layers complimented each other nicely. I liked using the fresh pasta in this dish. It made it more time consuming to make, but the pasta was so delicate that it made the rolls melt in your mouth. Definitely a special occasion pasta!