Honeycomb Pasta Bake With Cannelloni Stuffed 3 Ways
One of our favorite, most underrated types of pasta is cannelloni. Those delicious cylindrical noodles can be stuffed any which way with meat, ricotta cheese, vegetables, you name it! Usually when guests order cannelloni in an Italian restaurant, they'll get served a delicious dish with 1 choice filling, but in this recipe we're taking things a step further. Our honeycomb pasta bake features cannelloni stuffed with 3 different fillings: classic spinach & ricotta, scrumptious sausage, and melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella. On top of the extra flavor, our cannelloni gets arranged in a stunning patten that looks just like a colorful, mouth-watering honeycomb made out of pasta! On top of all that, the whole dish gets smothered in a delicious homemade meat sauce and even more layers of cheese. This is one pasta dinner you don't want to miss out on!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Moderate
For the stuffed cannelloni:
- 1 lb cannelloni pasta, cooked
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- 1 lb spinach, sautéed
- 9 oz ricotta cheese
- 10 oz cocktail sausages
- 14 oz mozzarella pearls
- olive oil for sautéing
For the meat sauce:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2½ cups diced tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
- 2 tbsp sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
For the topping:
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- cherry tomatoes + chopped parsley for the garnish
1. For the filling, sauté the spinach in some olive oil until it shrinks down significantly, then season it with salt & pepper and let it cool. Once the spinach has cooled, use your hands to squeeze out any excess liquid, then stir it together with the ricotta cheese. Transfer the spinach & ricotta filling to a piping bag.
2. For the meat sauce, fry the ground beef in some olive oil until it starts to brown, then add in the diced onions, minced garlic, and tomato paste. After everything has cooked briefly, add in the diced tomatoes, sugar, and herbs and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Let the meat sauce simmer for about 30 minutes and season with salt & pepper.
3. Heat a large pot filled with salted water on the stove. Cook the cannelloni for 3 minutes in the boiling water, then drain the noodles and run them under cold water to cool them off. Once the cannelloni noodles have been drained and cooled, return them to the large pot and stir in the grated parmesan.
4. Cut the cannelloni noodles in half and position them upright on a clean work surface.
5. Pipe the spinach & ricotta filling into ⅓ of the halved cannelloni noodles, insert 2 cocktail sausages into another ⅓, and fill the final ⅓ with 2–3 mozzarella pearls each.
6. Grease an 11-inch springform pan and stand it up on its side. Fill the springform pan with the 3 different flavors of stuffed cannelloni, then return the springform pan to its original position.
7. Pour the homemade meat sauce over the stuffed cannelloni and sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Transfer the springform pan to the oven and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
8. Once the honeycomb cannelloni bake has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and remove the ring from the springform pan. Garnish the honeycomb cannelloni bake with cherry tomatoes and chopped parsley.
Even before you slice into it, this honeycomb cannelloni bake looks stunning, between all of the pasta, cheese, and fresh toppings. And then it gets even better – the 3 different fillings mix together perfectly from your first bite, right down to your last!
Get the recipe for the Stuffed Snack Pyramid With 3 Fillings featured in the bonus video.