Swiss Chard Cannelloni (Pasta Incu Bietulle)
Fresh pasta, whether homemade or bought, is ideal for these hearty cannelloni, baked in zesty tomato sauce.
Yield: serves 8
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil
- 2 Tbsp. minced thyme leaves
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1⁄2 lb. Swiss chard, leaves separated and stems chopped
- 2 cups ricotta
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint
- 16 (5″ x 7″) fresh pasta sheets
- 4 oz. mozzarella or fontina
- Heat oil in a 4–qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ⅔ of the garlic and onion; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and chile flakes; cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add stock, basil, thyme, tomatoes, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally to meld flavors, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and purée sauce; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chard leaves and stems; cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a kitchen towel; twist into a ball, squeezing tightly, to drain any excess water. Finely chop leaves and stems, and transfer to a bowl along with remaining garlic, cheese, mint, and salt and pepper; mix well, and set filling aside.
- Heat oven to 425°. Place about ¼ cup filling near the short end of one pasta sheet. Starting at that short end, roll sheet into a cylinder around filling; repeat with remaining filling and sheets. Spread half the sauce in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; place pasta cylinders into dish, creating a single, snug layer. Cover with remaining sauce, and grate mozzarella over top; cover dish with foil. Bake until pasta is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer to broiler, and broil on high until cheese is browned, about 2 minutes.