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Homemade Tomato Sauce + Vegetarian Cannelloni

Homemade Tomato Sauce

I have had canned tomato sauce only twice in my life (that I'm aware of, I mean... hopefully I'm not getting served canned sauce at a restaurant but you never know... although, I don't even eat spaghetti when I'm out so the chances are that I have not had it). My mom is an excellent cook and always made her sauce from scratch. When I was younger I have memories of us making bushels of sauce in the garage with our neighbour, smelling up the whole street and house with the gorgeous scent. Then years we didn't do that we would make sauce on the stove as a replacement. This is the recipe I'm going to show you. I love making it, because it's pretty hands-free, only dirties up one pot and smells the house up for hours! I love this sauce. When I first started dating Jordan he used to think it was so bizarre that I would spoon this sauce into a bowl and just eat it with melted cheese on top, that is until he tried it. When he comes over and knows we have sauce, he gets disappointed if I don't offer him any. Yes, I've won him over to my weird sauce-eating ways :)!

Ingredients:
  • 1 large can GOOD quality tomato juice
  • 1 can Unico tomato paste
  • 1 can Unico diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Unico crushed tomatoes
  • EVOO
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • 3 cloves
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Dash of red chili pepper flakes
Directions:

Over high heat in a large pot heat your EVOO and garlic. Once it starts to sizzle turn the heat to 1. Pour in your ingredients, add your spices according to taste. Stir. Let simmer for 4-8 hours depending on the consistency you would like your sauce. Stir every once in a while so that your sauce doesn't burn at the bottom.

Grab a bowl, toss in some cheese, grab a spoon or some bread and enjoy! It's that simple!

Vegetarian Cannelloni


"Cannelloni (Italian: large reeds) are rectangular pasta sheets that are rolled into a cylindrical shape encompassing a filling. After a pasta sheet has been boiled, it is typically filled with a savory stuffing which may include ricotta cheese, spinach, and various meats. It is then covered with a sauce, typically a classic tomato or b├ęchamel sauce. Cannelloni is often erroneously referred to as manicotti (Italian: sleeves), which is actually a filled Italian dinner crepe, as opposed to pre-rolled pasta. While many Americanized versions believe manicotti and cannelloni are interchangeable, traditional Italian dishes make cannelloni with pasta and manicotti with a specialized crepe pan. Although both terms are plural nouns in Italian, the English term is often construed as singular, particularly when used as the name of the dish." - Wikipedia.

Along with melanzane this was always a favourite of mine. It got the family around the table, (our family was never really one of those families that gathered around the table and had beautiful conversations, we would just sit, eat then scamper off). When having the traditional Italian meals, it just seemed that everyone was happier and it brought everyone together. This is such a hearty meal and is so beautiful on those cold winter nights, with the snow falling and everyone is bundled up. This makes my heart warm just thinking about it. I made this for my family not too long ago because I wanted the beautiful aroma to fill the house. I didn't eat any since it was store-bought cannelloni, but it went quickly. Everyone really enjoyed it which made me happy even though I couldn't eat it. This is definitely a family favourite, and can easily become a family favourite of yours too with just a few simple ingredients!

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 container cottage cheese (opted for this since I wanted to use up my cottage cheese and not have to buy ricotta
  • 1 box of cannelloni shells
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Garnish:

  • Grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook cannelloni (in batches) according to package directions; drain, rinse in cold water, drain.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine your cheeses. Add eggs, basil, salt and pepper. Fill cannelloni shells with cheese filling.

Divide sauce into 6 portions. Spread 1 portion each on the bottom of three 2 L rectangular pans (or similar size pans that will fit 8 manicotti in a single layer). Arrange 8 stuffed cannelloni in each pan. Spread remaining sauce over the manicotti. Cover pans with foil, refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bake at 350-375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. If you freeze this, take it out the morning you're intending on baking it! Freezes very well.

Really, it is that simple to have a homemade Italian meal, may not be the healthiest but it sure is hearty, comforting and gets a smile on everyone's face!

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