Sunday, December 05, 2004

Canelonni Extravaganza for a Crowd

Believe me, this is a major project. The first time I made this was in Connecticut years ago. When I was teaching at Texas State Technical college, the faculty got to talking about having a Christmas party so I volunteered to make some Italian food. (I was the token Italian in TX at the time.) Somehow word got around, and the newspaper called me and wanted to do a Foods Editorial feature on local cooks. They were at our house for an entire day photographing the process of this food construction project that follows - I had to make it again!! From now on, Terrò la mia bocca grande ha chiuso!

Beef Canelloni/Mannicotti Filling

1 2-3Lb Chuck Roast
2 TBS Cracked fennel seed (Based on 2 ½ lbs of meat)
1 tsp Anise Seed
1 TBS Salt
1 TBS Course ground pepper
2 Crushed (flattened) Garlic cloves
1 8oz. Container of Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup water or red sauce

Place beef roast in cold water with the spices and garlic.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat down, and
simmer for 2 – 3 hours or until meat flakes
easily. (Can also crock pot overnight on low.) L
Let cool and remove all fat. Break into 1-inch chunks,
and put in food processor and chop.

Add another teaspoon of fennel, and ½ tsp of anise
to beef in food processor. Chop finely. Save in bowl
and refrigerate until ready to stuff shells.

Chicken Canelloni/Mannicotti Filling

3-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
½ tsp salt
2 Oz Sliced almonds
1 2 ½ ounce can drained, sliced mushrooms
8 Drops of Angostura® Bitters
½ cup shredded Prosciutto
1 8oz. Container of Ricotta Cheese

Place chicken in just enough cold water to cover it,
and add the 1 ½ tsp Nutmeg and salt. Bring to
boil over medium heat. Turn heat down, and simmer
until done (30-minutes). DO NOT over cook.
Cool chicken, then break into 1-inch pieces
and place in food processor with 1 tsp nutmeg,
almonds and mushrooms. Chop to a course
mixture. Place in bowl and refrigerate until
ready to fill shells.

Red Sauce

2 Chopped garlic buds
3 tsp. Spice Island Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning
3 TBS Olive oil
2 tsp. Spice Island Italian Herb
1 Finely chopped onion
½ Cup Marsala wine
1 Finely diced green pepper
6-10 Fresh basil leaves (Optional)
1 Quart whole tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp Sugar
½ tsp salt

Sauté garlic, onion, pepper in the olive oil. Add
remaining ingredients and simmer until thick
(2-3 hours.) Let cool, then puree in a blender.

Béchamel (White) Sauce

4 TBS Butter 4 TBS Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 CUP Whipping or heavy cream
½ tsp Salt
1/8 tsp White Pepper
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Melt butter over medium heat. When butter is
melted, remove from heat and whisk in flour
until well blended, then pour in the milk and
cream all at once. Bring to boil while whisking
constantly. When thick enough to heavily coat
whisk, remove from heat. Add salt, pepper,
and nutmeg

1 or 2 boxes of Manicotti shells (One box contains 14-shells)

The above fillings make enough to stuff at least
28 shells, so cut the recipe in half for 14-shells.
Boil shells according to directions.


Blend in one – 8oz (or less) container of Ricotta
cheese and shredded Prosciutto with the chicken
mixture. Stuff tubes, keeping them on separate
plates. Blend in one – 8oz (or less) container of
Ricotta cheese with the beef mixture and
1 cup water or 1-cup red sauce. Lightly oil
a baking dish or pan large with olive oil -
large enough to hold 14 – 16 stuffed tubes.
Stuff beef –filled shells, and keep separate on
another plate.

Arrange tubes, chicken-filled in one row, beef
filled in a second row. Pour white sauce over
chicken-filled tubes, and red sauce over beef-filled
tubes – alternating so that you have a red and
white filled baking dish.

You'll have your guests coming back for more!!