This is the first time when I made pasta from scratch. Before I was buying dry pasta sold in boxes for less than a dollar. Now the feeling was quite different, and after this experience, I will most likely never go back to pasta bought from the store.
2 cups of flour + more for kneading a dough
1/3 cup olive oil
4 tbsp water
For cannelloni filling
2 chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
2 shallots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and cut into small pieces
10 baby mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 slice of celery root, finely chopped
1/2 cup good white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small cubes of chicken stock (they are quite salty, so you don’t need to add salt)
For tomato sauce
Some people don’t like to spend time making their own tomato sauce, and prefer to use Marinara sauce from a jar they bought at the store. My past experience with store bought sauce is not very good, and I started making my own. Whenever possible I use fresh tomatoes but I found tomatoes in a can imported from Italy that save me a lot of time, and give my sauce the same amazing taste. Here are the ingredients for my sauce:
1 can of chopped tomatoes (or 4-5 fresh tomatoes)
4-5 leaves fresh basil
2 tsp dried rosemary (fresh rosemary will work too but certain members of my family are not big fans of “strange” spices, and I try to use dried spices which have taste and aroma that are not too strong; if it is up to me, I will add fresh spices and herbs to every dish I cook)
1 1/2 tsp sugar (to offset the sour taste of the tomatoes, do not add more as you risk to make your sauce too sweet)
For Bechamel sauce
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
a pinch of salt
- To prepare the pasta dough, mix the eggs, olive oil and water in a bowl. Add this mixture to the flour. Mix until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Wrap the dough with plastic foil and let it rest for 1 hour.
- While waiting for the dough, prepare the filling.
- Heat a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, add the chopped shallots and onion. Stir and leave them in the pan to soften and caramelize (about 4 minutes).
- Add the chopped chicken to the caramelized onions, and pour in the wine. Let it cook until the wine evaporates completely (it takes about 10 minutes).
- Afterwards, add the mushrooms, chopped red pepper, celery root and cubes of chicken stock. Close the lid of the pan and cook for five more minutes before taking it off from the heat. Transfer the filling to a plate.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you can see through the dough sheet (it takes quite some effort to achieve the right thickness). Cut out medium size squares. Boil water with salt and add the pasta squares. Once they come up to the surface, take them out and set them aside. The pasta squares need to be only slightly warm before adding the filling.
- Add the tomatoes to the same pan where the filling was before. Heat up the pan until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chopped basil leaves, the sugar and the rosemary. Cook until you get a fairly thick tomato sauce.