Nonna Mary Pellegrini's Cannelloni

There is no other pasta dish that could be more elegant, tastier, or simpler to make. It is actually a stuffed crepe and not to be confused with stuffed pasta. Richard and Jeanne's grandmother, (Nonna) Mary Pellegrini, credited this classic Italian dish to a close friend. Over the years it has remained a holiday treat that pairs beautifully with P:4 Pinot Noir. The filling, crepes, and tomato sauce can be made in the morning and refrigerated until the assembly.

Makes 12 cannelloni

Ingredients

Filling
1 lb. (total) ground beef, veal, and pork (grind twice)
1 lb. ricotta
2 bunches Swiss chard
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 C. dry white wine
Oil and butter for cooking
12 thin slices of Monterey Jack or Teleme cheese

Crepes
2 eggs
1 C. water
1 C. flour
Olive oil

Tomato Sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C. chopped flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
1 C. white wine
Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions

Filling
Fry meat in 1 T. of oil and 1 T. of butter until golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste. When browned, add wine and reduce. Set meat mixture aside in a large bowl. Cook Swiss chard in a small amount of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly, squeezing out excess water. Chop finely and then cook the chard in butter and oil until well coated. Add to meat mixture. Cook chopped onion, garlic, and parsley in oil and butter until slightly brown. Add to meat mixture.

Once meat mixture is cool, add beaten eggs, grated cheese, and ricotta. Mix together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Crepes
Mix all ingredients together, beat well until smooth. Let stand about 20 minutes. Spray a 7" frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Dip a paper towel in oil and coat pan on bottom and sides. Do this every time you make a crepe. 

Put pan over medium heat. When hot, add about 3 T. of the mixture, tilting pan to cover bottom of pan. Cook crepe until the edges curl and it is slightly brown underneath. Flip crepe over and cook on the other side for a few seconds. Flip crepe onto a counter and let cool. Repeat for each crepe. When cool, stack the crepes and cover.

Tomato Sauce
Cook onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add parsley. Add wine and cook to reduce liquid. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook until thickened. 

Assembly and Serving

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Coat a 20” by 12” by 2” roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add enough tomato sauce so cannelloni are sitting on sauce and won’t dry out during cooking. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk to loosen. Fill crepes with meat/cheese mixture and place cannelloni seam side down in pan.

Cover tightly with foil and bake until well heated through. Uncover pan and place one slice of cheese over each cannelloni. Cover pan again with foil and heat in oven until cheese is melted.

Put a small amount of heated tomato sauce on the plate and place cannelloni on top.