Tony Z's Cannellone. This pasta dish has followed millions of Italian immigrants around the world-to North and South America and even Australia-to the point that it's probably more popular nowadays in Brooklyn than in Naples. Called cannelloni in Italy, this stuffed pasta dish is known in America as manicotti. The word cannellone literally means "a big pipe," and manicotto loosely translates as "a big sleeve." Squares or rectangles of pasta are filled, then rolled to form cylinders about 5- to 6-inches long, then layered on a buttered baking dish, topped with sauce and put in the oven.
Traditionally, in Italy, cannelloni is a Sunday lunch or holiday dish. Though it isn't regional, cannelloni is usually associated with the Campania region and Sicily. In the old days, when women spent more time in the kitchen, cannelloni were prepared from scratch, using fresh, homemade egg pasta, stuffed with a filling and topped with ragu, tomato sauce, and/or Bechamel. Nowadays, you can obtain excellent results using DeLallo Manicotti, Lasagna noodles or other large forms of dry pasta, such as Shells. Dry pasta needs to be cooked first, very briefly, in water and then, when cooled over a towel, filled. Top your manicotti with sauce, sprinkling freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano before baking in a casserole dish or pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375˚F, or until a crust starts to form on the top.