Homemade Cremini Ricotta Cannelloni with Sweet Basil and Tomato Sauce

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If you need a change from vegetarian lasagna, go for these whole wheat cannelloni. Instead of being layered with the pasta, cremini mushrooms and ricotta cheese make a substantial filling for these square pasta crepes. The sweet fragrance of purple basil infuses not only this pasta dish but also your kitchen, making it warm and inviting. Perfect comfort food after shoveling your snowy sidewalks!

Ingredients for 3 generous servings:

1/3 basic pasta dough using whole wheat flour

Cremini and ricotta filling for 6 cannelloni:

1 cup cremini mushrooms

1 small onion

1 tomato

1 cup fresh purple basil

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ cup dry white wine

Sweet basil tomato sauce:

6 anchovy filets

1 16-ounce tomato can

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

1 small onion

½ bunch fresh purple basil

1 cup romano cheese

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the basic pasta dough.

2. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

3. Chop onion, mushrooms, tomato and basil.

4. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

5. Stir fry the onion and the mushrooms until soft.

6. Add the tomato and the purple basil. Let wilt for 2 mins.

4. Add the wine and the cheese and let simmer for 5 mins until all liquid is evaporated. Season to taste.

8. Chop onion, carrot and celery for the tomato sauce.

9. In a saucepan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.

10. Stir in the onion until translucent then add anchovies, carrot and celery.

11. When the vegetables are soft, add the canned tomatoes.

12. Slightly mash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to liberate the juice.

13. Add the purple basil to the pan and season to taste.

14. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until serving.

15. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

16. Roll the pasta dough and cut into 4 inch squares.

17. Cook the pasta squares in boiling salted water for 3 mins.

18. Plunge the squares into cold water and drain on paper towel.

19. Spoon some filling on the first third of each square and roll.

20. Place the rolls in a baking pan, with seams underneath.

21. Cover the rolls with the tomato sauce and freshly grated cheese.

22. Bake for 20 mins and serve immediately.

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