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Playing How To Make Cannelloni with Butternut Squash and Escarole | Rachael Ray

Rach shares a make-ahead, cheesy baked pasta recipe with butternut squash and escarole—plus a tip for the easiest cannelloni ever! 

For more cozy pasta recipes, check out Rach's Macaroni & Beef CasserolePasta With Sausage, Broccolini & Peppers, and this Freezer-to-Oven Mac 'n' Cheese.


For the squash:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) non-aerosol spray
  • 1 small butternut squash, halved, seeded
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked or ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
For the cheese filling, escarole and pasta:
  • 1 large escarole, washed, drained
  • 16 square flat lasagne sheets, fresh or dry, 4 to 5 inches long each or trimmed if longer
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepperoncini or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 large ball mozzarella, divided in half with one-half small dice (about 1 cup) and the other half sliced
  • Salt and white pepper
For the sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons Italian butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • One small handful flat parsley, chopped


Serves: 4 to 6


Preheat oven to 425˚F and heat a large pot of water to boil for escarole and pasta.  
Spray and season squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and roast to tender and brown at edges, about 35 minutes. Cool, scrape flesh from skin and puree in processor. Turn oven down to 400˚F.

Blanch escarole 30 seconds in salted boiling water, remove, shock in cold water, and drain on towel and cool, chop. Parboil pasta sheets 5 minutes in the salted water, drain and arrange between kitchen towels.

Combine ricotta with red pepper, lemon zest, garlic, diced mozzarella and salt and white pepper to taste.

For the sauce, in a deep skillet or medium pot, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, add salt, nutmeg and white pepper, and whisk in milk to thicken, remove from heat.

Line 1 large or 2 medium casserole dishes with a layer of sauce. On each sheet of pasta arrange 3 tablespoons of squash puree, a small handful of escarole and 3 tablespoons of ricotta filling, roll and place in pan seam-side down, top with sauce, remaining sliced mozzarella and Parm. Cover with parchment and/or foil , bake at center oven at 400˚F 30 minutes, uncover, add parsley on top and bake 15 minutes to brown and bubble.