Cannelloni from the Garden

My relationship with my Italian Grandmother was complicated. Suffice it to say that she wasn’t really the kind of woman to invite children into her kitchen to help her cook. But, I love Italian food and I loved my Grandmother, even when it was hard. So, I really enjoy finding chances to try something and honor that part of my heritage. (Although, thats complicated, too, since what want to cook isn’t always from the part of Italy we’re from. But, you know. You do what you do.)

I had dinner with a friend when I was back in Buffalo a month ago. He introduced me to the website Pasta Grannies. It came up because we talked about my garden and how productive my chard and kale plants have been. The recipe he mentioned at dinner I haven’t found yet. The website is an epic stroll through home culinary traditions on the Italian peninsula. I’ve watched so many of the videos and gotten so many ideas. The website is amazing, if you have some time and want to go down a rabbit hole, I highly recommend this one. I bookmarked a recipe for cannelloni, because I knew that would be a nice way to use a bunch of chard and kale at once.

Kale, swiss chard and the second grape tomato harvest

And, then, despite the fact the website is called pasta grannies and it includes the recipe for an egg pasta, I totally punted the ball and used store bought pasta and not even the pasta that the recipe called for me to make. I used lasagna noodles and made rolls.

The filling of ricotta, parmagiana, pecorino romano, chard, kale, marjoram, nutmeg, and salt and pepper

But, long rolls, so they look a little like cannelloni.

Fake cannellonis all rolled up in a pan

Then, Carla Tomasi’s recipe calls for a light bechamel with lemon and mint. It was on the heat 35 seconds longer than it needed to be, and I’m pretty bummed about that. I got it just right, napping to the spoon (is that how you use that cooking term?). Then, I looked away for a second. The sauce still tastes lovely. Lemon zest is probably going to feature in all sauces for the rest of the summer.

Covered in bechamel and butter, ready for the oven

I’m so thrilled that its been cool enough that the oven can be on. It didn’t get as brown as I would have liked it, but I didn’t want to dry it out leaving it in too long.

Baked cannelloni in a lemon bechamel sauce. It did get a little golden around the edges, which is good. But, I was hoping for my golden brown on the top

I served it with a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes and red onion with a vinaigrette.

A cannelloni? Cannellono? and a small salad with vinaigrette served on the good china

There is nothing quite like home cooking.

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