When last we left the spinach and ricotta cannelloni experiment...this is what I placed in the freezer. I was kind of hoping that my Italian Fairy Godmother was going to come along and wave her magic wand and make these poor sad cannelloni, PRETTY...and ready to attend a BALL! Needless to say, it didn't happen. The P-Man arrived back from his trip, and I thought I would let him taste them. My first step was to whip up a delicious tomato sauce in which to cook them in.
Tasty Tomato Sauce:
olive oil- as much as you like
1 medium onion- chopped quite fine
2 cloves of garlic-minced
1 red pepper-chopped quite fine
1 can of whole Italian plum tomatoes- broken up with a wooden spoon
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
about a cup of flavourful red wine
Olive oil in a saute pan. I consider the olive oil to be another ingredient in the sauce, so use as much or as little as you like. I use enough to cover the bottom of the saute pan. Have the heat around a medium high, and when the oil looks hot, add everything except the tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium low, and sweat the vegetables and herbs until they are 'squishably' soft. Add the wine, and turn up the heat slightly, until you get a little bubbling. Reduce the wine by about half, and then add the tomatoes. Rinse out the tin with warm water, about a 1/4 cup, and add water to the pan. Carefully break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, and continue to simmer with a lid on, for about 1 hour. Turn off heat, and leave covered on the stove for another hour. Taste, and adjust for seasonings.
Once the sauce has cooled, I pre-heated the oven to 350 F and spread a generous layer of tomato sauce onto the bottom of a glass pyrex pan, approx 8 inches by 12 inches. Take the frozen cannelloni and lay them side by side, to fill the pan. Then cover them with more sauce, and grate as much mozzarella cheese as you like, I used about a cup, and sprinkle the cheese over top. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover the pan and bake for another 20 minutes.
The P-Man pronounced them to be creamy and soft, with a nice spinachy, slightly spicy flavour. The sauce and cheese provided a nice rich base, and was lovely to slurp up with a bit of baguette.
In this case, beauty was definitely, only skin...or 'shell 'deep!
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