I've been baking egg rolls again and decided on this go-round to stuff them with Italian sausage, sauteed mushrooms, ricotta cheese and fresh basil. Flavor packed, baked cannelloni is actually what they are. There are a few steps involved, but the dish is rather simple and fun to make. Here's the recipe:
Mushroom, Sausage, Ricotta, and Basil Cannelloni
Makes 16 mini cannelloni, 2 or 3 cannelloni per person for dinner entree
1 T olive oil
8 oz button mushrooms
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 sweet Italian sausages removed from casings
2 tsp olive oil
8 egg roll wrappers cut in half
1 24 oz jar tomato/spaghetti sauce- I like Paul Newman's tomato basil
1 bunch of fresh basil
additional mozzarella for topping
additional parmesan for topping
Let's get cooking- To prepare the mushrooms: Add oil to large pan on stove top and set heat to medium/medium low. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until brown (this could take anywhere from 8 minutes to 20, depending on your stove). But do not let the garlic burn! I'd rather take the time to let let my mushrooms brown on a lower heat than have burnt, acrid tasting garlic.
When mushrooms are done remove to a separate bowl and set aside. It's time to cook the sausage. I used 3 sweet Italian sausages removed from their casings and sauteed them on medium in a small amount of oil.
When all the pinkness is gone from the meat (10 minutes or so) add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Stir to combine and then set this mixture aside.
Ready for the cheese? In small bowl combine all ingredients.
When cheese mixture is ready, that means you're ready to start rolling your egg roll cannellonis. Get your basil out, cut your egg rolls in half and prep a baking dish with a 1/3 cup of tomato sauce. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
On cutting board or work surface place one egg roll strip and in the center and add 2 or 3 mushrooms. This is layer one. You don't want to over fill the egg rolls or they won't close and/or bake properly. You'll see what I'm talking about as we keep adding ingredients.
Top with the ricotta mixture. About 2 teaspoons will do.
Now add the sausage, about 2 teaspoons of that too.
Looking pretty good so far, don't you think? Now top with a basil leaf. My basil leaves were so huge, I decided to cut them in half. Top with a pinch of mozzarella or parmesan and we're ready to roll this baby up.
Fold the back side of the egg roll over the top. Now roll the front side to meet the back. You should have about a 1/4 inch overlap. Place rolled cannelloni in baking dish. seam side down.
Now that you've got the idea, keep rolling. You've got 15 more to do. The assembly and rolling go quickly and to me this is the fun part. By the time you're halfway through, you'll have it down to a science.
Top the cannelloni with remaining sauce (you may have some left over-save it) and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. They are ready to go into your pre heated oven.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
Let cool a bit, garnish with fresh basil and dig into these little bundles of flavor.
I heated up some of my left over tomato sauce and served it along side the cannelloni. Even though the cannelloni didn't need it, the crusty bread that accompanied the meal enjoyed a dunk or two in the tomato sauce and kept coming back for more. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It's a super dinner and also a nice appetizer (just serve smaller portions). Since it's becoming cocktail party season, I'm wondering if I can make these into bite sized appetizers. I have so many egg roll wrappers left, it just might happen soon. Thanks for reading!