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TIP OF THE DAY: Reverse Spaghetti & Meatballs

We’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from Chef Michael O’Boyle of

When we looked at his cannelloni, we thought: reverse spaghetti and meatballs could become a fun family favorite.

Instead of stuffing ground meat into cannelloni in the classic way, turn your meatball recipe into mini meatballs and pack them into the cannelloni tubes.



  • 1 box cannelloni tube pasta
  • Meatballs from your favorite recipe
  • Tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: mozzarella cheese

    Instead of conventional stuffing, use mini meatballs.Photo courtesy



    1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175° C).

    2. Make the meatballs and shape into miniature balls that will fit into the cannelloni tubes. Bake for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through (160°F)—mini meatballs will cook more quickly than conventional ones. Remove from oven and let cool until meat can be comfortably handled.

    3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add the cannelloni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside until meatballs are ready.

    4. Stuff each cannelloni with 4 meatballs (or as many as fit) and place in a 9″ x 13″ inch baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over cannelloni and bake 20 minutes, or until sauce begins to bubble.

    5. If you’d like a mozzarella top, add the slices in the final 10 minutes so it doesn’t overly brown. Otherwise, grate ribbons of Parmesan over the cannelloni when ready to serve (we use a Microplane ribbon grater, although you can use a conventional grater.

    6. Optional garnish: basil chiffonade.



  • 1 can diced Italian tomatoes (we prefer San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional heat: 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 large leaves fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for garnish

    1. Place tomatoes and can juices in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.

    2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

    3. Add garlic and onion; sauté until soft. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper; sauté 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add fresh basil leaves and cook for 1 minute longer.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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