Valentine's Day at San Morello: Preparing Cannelloni with ricotta and pomodoro

Valentine's Day is near. What better way to spend it with that special someone than a night out on the town.

For those that are venturing out for the evening, they'll find some delicious options catered to couples at San Morello on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Here's a taste of what's offered this season:

Cannelloni alla Sorrentino, Ricotta & Pomodoro

Ingredients - Pasta Dough

  • 6 cups "00" flour, plus more for flouring work surface and dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 whole eggs
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Cannelloni filling:

  • 1 clamshell raw baby spinach
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • ¾ cup ground parm
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cup onions diced
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

For the sauce:

  • 10 cups good quality Italian canned tomatoes (like San Marzano)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 ¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 packed cup of basil leaves, washed with stems on
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped


To make the cannelloni filling:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the spinach, cook for two minutes and drain the spinach in a strainer.
  3. In a saute pan over medium low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the onion andgarlic unit translucent.
  4. Wring the excessive water out of the spinach and finely chop the spinach.
  5. Add all of the ingredients together and mix using a spatula until well combined.
  6. Place the filling in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until ready to use.

To make the pasta dough:

  1. Flour a board, marble slab, or countertop well.
  2. Combine the two flours and the salt in a KitchenAid bowl and combine on speed 1 using the doughhook. Add the eggs and the egg yolks. Turn it up to speed 5 and mix until it looks like a rough dough,about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the dough from the machine and mix it well with your hands, first in the bowl (to scoop upand integrate the unmixed flour on the bottom) and then on the floured board or work surface to ensurethat everything is very well combined.
  4. Return the dough to the KitchenAid and blend on speed 3 just until the mixture comes away from thesides of the bowl, 15 seconds or so. (Remember: every KitchenAid, like every oven, is different, so useyour own eye to judge.)
  5. Flour your work surface again and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle flour on the dough to keep itfrom sticking.
  6. Roll the dough into a ball. Reach over the top of the ball, hook your fingers in, and fold it backtowards you; then press the folded bit in with the heel of your hand. (You’re basically turning the outsidepart into the inside part.) That, repeated many times, is how the dough is worked. Keep adding lots offlour, so the dough is not sticky. When the dough is nice and smooth on the outside, like a well kneadedbread dough (you want this pasta dough to be really light colored and smooth) — this takes about 3minutes — form it into a tight ball.
  7. Wrap it snugly in 2 layers of plastic wrap, so it’s nice and tight, and put it in the fridge to rest for atleast 2 hours—preferably overnight.

To make the cannelloni:

  1. Remove the cannelloni dough from the fridge and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. With awooden rolling pin, roll the dough out into a square or rectangle, so that it fits inside your pastamachine.
  2. Flour the pasta to prevent stickiness and roll it through the pasta machine. Cut the resulting sheet ofdough in half (so the final sheet doesn’t get too long). Roll the pasta dough through the machine again,reducing the setting. Repeat until the dough is thin enough to allow you to see the outline and color ofyour hand through it, but not so thin that it gets fragile: it should feel like a piece of velvet. At this point,run the dough through the machine once more without changing the setting.
  3. Cut the pasta lengthwise into 3 x 4-inch-wide rectangles.
  4. Cook the sheets for 1 minute in boiling salted water, drain and immediately submerge in cold water;let sit in the cold water for a few minutes, then remove and let dry on a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Place a spoonful of filling close to the short end of the pasta sheet and roll up lengthwise to form acannelloni. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.

To finish the dish:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Spoon one ladleful of tomato compote evenly over the bottom of a baking dish. Transfer thefilled cannelloni to the baking dish in a single layer. Cover evenly with tomato compote, thensprinkle with ¼ cup of grated parmesan.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutesbefore serving.
  4. Spoon warm tomato compote in the center of the plate. Place 3 pieces of cannelloni on top of thecompote. Top with grated parmesan cheese, three basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin oliveoil