Scordo Pasta Challenge: #13 Cannelloni with Ricotta and Tomato Sauce

Cannelloni ready to eat! Because the pasta is baked after boiling, the tomato sauce tends to thicken up a bit


Cannelloni have a special place in my heart as I’ve always consumed them on special days (such as a holiday or a birthday).  My favorite Cannelloni are prepared in a simple manner, that is, with fresh ricotta, parsley, and tomato sauce.  Cannelloni are typically boiled and then stuffed with ricotta and thereafter they are baked in the oven with tomato sauce.  We also make cannelloni with beef.

Cannelloni with Ricotta and Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of fresh ricotta
  • 1-2 cups of grated, fresh, mozzarella
  • 1 cup of grated Grana Padana
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 package of dry cannelloni (we’ve had luck with Rustichella’s new cannelloni shells)
  • Homemade tomato sauce
  1. Add garlic and onion to a large pan and cook until soft over a medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl mix the ricotta, mozzarella , parsley, egg, oregano and salt and pepper. Add grated cheese and Mix well by hand and let sit mixture sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Heat your oven to 350 ◦F. Fill the dry cannelloni shells with the mixture, using the end of a wooden spoon to push the mixture through. Create a base layer of tomato sauce in your oven proof dish and create a single layer of cannelloni. Spoon more tomato sauce over the cannelloni, ensuring they are well covered (the sauce will do the cooking) Sprinkle the cannelloni with grated Grana Padana cheese . Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 ◦F for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.



Cannelloni up close in the tray


I enjoyed the above pasta with a simple glass of Burgundy.


Cannelloni in the baking tray


How do you prepare Cannelloni and do you refer to them as Manicotti?  What’s the difference?



  1. I’m glad you brought this up…since you have the connections to give the REAL answer. Here’s my take on it.
    I make manicotti sort of like crepes–I always stuff them with the typical ricotta filling, and I use either a plain marinara sauce, or sometimes add Italian sausage.
    Here is a post I did on manicotti:
    Cannelloni is all different to me. I make pretty thin pasta, cut it into about 4×6 rectangles, boil it, rinse, and then thinly spread my filling on and roll them up. I use a veal filling that I cook and then pulse in food processor, or a spinach and ricotta filling. I also make two sauces…a bechamel type sauce for the bottom, and then a marinara over the top.
    I haven’t posted on cannelloni yet, but this is how I make the pasta:
    So, what is the REAL answer? Thanks Annelle

  2. Joseph Chiaravalloti

    Is the ricotta seasoned? Is that where the parsley goes? How about a grating of nutmeg for the filling?
    I like the food mill to finish off a sauce. When I am doing a meat sauce, I add stalks of celery and bunches of herbs (mostly basil and fresh oregano). Putting the meat aside, I run the lumpy sauce through the food mill so that all the flavors are retained, but the stringy part of the celery and herbs are held back.
    Also, a little chopped anchovy adds depth of flavor to any tomato sauce.

  3. Manicotti was always a team effort in my family. The pasta was always homemade, very thin and delicate, with the ricotta seasoned with salt and pepper and added to bits of cooked spinach. My great aunt liked to add a bechamel sauce, and the tomato sauce was always dynamite.
    Annelle, I went over to your site to take a look. Very nice!

  4. Hi Joseph,
    Hard enough to eat all the pasta, documenting the recipe is difficult (just kidding)!.
    The ricotta filling is pretty straightforward: in a bowl combine fresh ricotta (if you can avoid the mass produced stuff, then buy it from a shop that makes it “in house”; look for a recipe to make it at home soon), finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and dried oregano.
    With Tomato sauce, yes I do use a food mill (especially with tomatoes that haven’t been pureed during the bottling process). Have you seen the tomato sauce recipe here?
    Anchovy is interesting. I sometime make a pasta condiment of anchovy, parsley, garlic, and olive oil. The trick is to dissolve the anchovy (never had anchovy in a tomato based sauce or condiment).

  5. Hey Vince, what about Puttanesca? I always use anchovy in that sauce.
    And Thank You Joe! I LOVE making pasta. I think, truthfully, I LOVE all things Italian!

  6. Hi Annelle,
    The manicotti recipe looks great. My wife’s family makes manicotti similar to the product you make (where the pasta is more crepe than anything else).
    I’ve never had cannelloni with a meat filling or even prepared with fresh pasta. I’ve always used the dry pasta variety and I think they do the same in Calabria.
    Overall, I think you have the distinction correct, however, that cannelloni are less crepe like and manicotti is a thinner shaped pasta.

  7. Carnevale in Italia

    (photo: Carnevale in Reggio Calabria, thanks to Demetrio Bruno for the photo)Carnevale, which means “farewell to meat”, is celebrated throughout the world including in the United States (known as Mardi Gras) and Italy.  Carnevale usually takes pl…

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