We’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from Chef Michael O’Boyle of ChickenFriedGourmet.com (alas, now closed).
When we looked at his cannelloni, we thought: inside-out 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.
Instead of conventional stuffing, use mini meatballs (photo © Chicken Fried Gourmet).
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (175° C).
2. MAKE the meatballs and shape them 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. Meanwhile…
3. 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.
1. PLACE the tomatoes and can juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Set aside.
2. HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. ADD the garlic and onion; sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper; sauté 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add fresh basil leaves and cook for 1 minute longer.
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