I’ve had my sights set on making gluten free cannelloni from scratch ever since I posted my homemade lasagne sheets recipe last year… and here is the result!
As expected, they worked beautifully. 🙂
I don’t particularly care for cooked spinach (in fact I can’t stand it!) so I kept mine simple with a basic 3 cheese filling which turned out really delicious. Topped with my all time favourite pre-made sauce, M&S Arrabbiata, to save time.
I know I know… This dish does take time and effort to make, but it’s well worth it as an occasional treat!
OR you can make the most of it by preparing a big batch and freezing portions in foil trays. Ready to bake for easy weekday meals. 🙂
You can freeze them (unbaked)
I know homemade cannelloni are quite a lot of work so, understandably, if you’d like to prep some in advance, you can absolutely do so. Just assemble everything in portions, in foil trays, and freeze them (unbaked). Then you can have a supply, all ready to bake, in the freezer. 🙂
Use pre-made sauce to save yourself time and extra hassle
Of course, nothing beats a homemade sauce. But since cannelloni are already enough work to make from scratch, I opted for a good quality pre-made sauce (M&S Arrabbiata sauce) to save time and I have no regrets. 😉
Make sure the sauce is watery and hot
Use a generous amount of tomato sauce and make sure it’s fairly watery. You need the excess liquid for the pasta to cook properly and have a great texture. So if you’re using a pre-made sauce, like I did, water it down first. I also recommend heating it up in a saucepan first, but this step isn’t absolutely necessary.
Add a layer of béchamel sauce for an even tastier result
I went without this time, but nothing beats adding a creamy top layer of béchamel sauce.
And if you’d also like to make a lasagne with your sheets…
… You can also try my lasagne al forno recipe. 🙂
- 140g schar flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (add 1 tsp instead if your blend doesn't already contain any or a similar thickener)
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp olive oil
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 25g parmesan cheese
- 40g shredded mozzarella
- 2 tsp all purpose gluten free flour (or 1 tsp cornflour)
- A dash of ground nutmeg
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (to taste)
- Tomato sauce of your choice, homemade or pre-made (I used 2 250g jars of M&S arabiata sauce)
- 60g mozzarella
- 3 heaped Tbsp salted butter
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour (the type you use to thicken sauces)
- 2.5 cups (590g) whole milk
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- Black pepper
PREPARE THE PASTA DOUGH:
- Mix the flour and xanthan gum together in a bowl.
- Add the eggs and olive oil and mix with a fork until mostly combined, then knead with your hands until you reach a smooth, crack free dough ball. Note: you can sprinkle a tiny bit of extra flour if the dough seems too sticky, but be careful not to overdo it. If the dough is too dry, add a tiny bit more olive oil or egg white.
- Wrap the dough in cling film (to prevent it from drying) and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
PREPARE THE FILLING:
- Mix a tub of ricotta cheese with grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella.
- Then stir in the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and flour. Give it a taste and adjust to your liking.
MAKE THE CANNELLONI SHEETS:
- Divide your dough into 6 portions; I find it’s easier to roll and get the thickness right when working with smaller portions.
- Sprinkle some flour on your work surface (I recommend using a sheet of baking paper to prevent sticking), add a dough ball and sprinkle some flour on top as well.
- Then start rolling it, sprinkling extra flour on top whenever necessary, and flip it over from time to time during the process (to make sure it’s not sticking to the baking paper). Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, until it’s very thin.
- Trim them edges with a knife or pasta/pizza cutter.
- Then cut into sheets, like in the pictures above.
- Finally, sprinkle a bit of flour on both sides and let them rest/dry for at least 15 minutes before using them. Note: you don’t need to part-boil them. 🙂
STUFF THE CANNELLONI:
- Brush off any excess flour from your cannelloni sheets (as much as possible).
- Add a couple of teaspoons of filling on one end.
- Then roll them all the way.
ADD THE TOPPINGS AND BAKE:
- First of all, use a generous amount of tomato sauce and make sure it’s fairly watery. You need the excess liquid for the pasta to cook properly and have a great texture. So if you’re using a pre-made sauce, like I did, water it down first. I also recommend heating it up in a saucepan first, but this step isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Cover the bottom of your baking dish with a good layer of sauce. This will prevent your cannelloni from sticking to the bottom and it will help them cook properly too.
- Place your cannelloni side by side on top.
- Then pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Note: make sure your cannelloni are completely covered in sauce and no longer visible.
- At this point, you can go ahead and add a layer of béchamel sauce on top. It’s not necessary – I didn’t this time – but it is definitely delicious!
- Add a generous layer of cheese on top. I like adding shredded mozzarella or a mix of mozzarella and extra mature cheddar.
- Finally, cover your baking dish with foil and bake in pre-heated oven (180C / 356F) for 50 mins. Note: 15 mins before the end, remove the foil to let the cheese brown a bit.
Hope you enjoy them! 🙂