Homemade Cannelloni is a rich baked Italian pasta and cheese recipe that everyone in the family will look forward to!
Cannelloni pasta tubes are stuffed with a rich and flavorful ricotta filling, then covered in marinara and a generous topping of mozzarella!
What Exactly is Cannelloni? Cannelloni is a stuffed pasta dish (not to be confused with cannoli, which is a sweet dessert). Cannelloni shells can be found in most grocery stores or you can buy it online. You can substitute jumbo shells or manicotti shells (which are shorter tubes and have ridges). Either of those optoins will need to be pre-cooked.
It won’t make a huge difference, but it is nice to use traditional cannelloni which is smooth and a bit longer.
Cannelloni vs. Manicotti
Cannelloni loosely translates from the Italian as “big tubes, or even “large reeds.” Traditionally cheese and vegetables or meat filling are rolled in pasta sheets before baking. Manicotti would more likely be called “crespelle” and is often made with crepes rather than pasta.
Whatever the name of the pasta you use, you basically fill it with lots of creamy and savory cheese and cover it with sauce and more cheese before baking. Yum!
How to Make Cannelloni
It might seem intimidating to make, but it’s actually quite simple!
Filling Cannelloni: Cannelloni is filled dry (not pre cooked like stuffed shells would be). Add the filling to a piping bag with a large dip or a freezer bag and squeeze the filling into the tubes.
- Mix the filling according to the recipe below.
- Spoon filling into a piping bag or a freezer bag with the corner cut off.
- Squeeze filling into oven-ready cannelloni tubes.
Tip: Cannelloni is filled dry and the sauce softens the pasta as it bakes. Cook time can vary from brand to brand so make note of what the box you purchase suggests for cook time. Depending on the brand, I sometimes soak them in a bowl of very hot water for about 5-7 minutes before I fill them, this helps them begin softening.
Be sure to add lots of sauce . Test with a fork to make sure the pasta is cooked through before serving
Cheese cannelloni is a great meal and we serve it up just like homemade lasagna.
Cannelloni is a great make-ahead dish, and it freezes well.
- Freeze in a freezer and oven safe casserole dish, tightly covered.
- Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to the recipe directions below.
More Filled Pasta
- Chicken Lasagna
- Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells – taco-inspired casserole
- Lasagna Roll Ups – baked with cheese!
- Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole – fav comfort foods
- 12 dried cannelloni oven ready
- 2 ½ cups marinara sauce divided
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Place into a piping bag or large zippered bag and set aside.
- Add ⅓ cup water to the marinara sauce and place ½ cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
- Snip off the corner of the zipper bag if using and fill each cannelloni placing in the pan. Top with remaining marinara sauce.
- Cover and bake 40 minutes. Add cheese and bake covered an additional 15-20 minutes.