Butternut Squash Cannelloni with Pancetta Crunch

From Giuseppe Di Gennaro, Cotto

2017 Sept/Oct



  • 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 150 g. ricotta cheese, drained
  • 120 g. grana padano cheese, crumbled and separated in half
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • 2 Amaretto cookies, crumbled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 18 cannelloni tubes, slightly blanched*
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 100 g. soft unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, roast the butternut squash for approximately 20 minutes or until soft to the fork. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor, add the ricotta, half the grana padano, nutmeg, Amaretto cookies, egg yolk and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Transfer to a piping bag (no tip required), carefully fill all the cannelloni tubes and lay them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Mix the cream with the remaining grana padano and the soft butter and pour over the cannelloni tubes. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve 3 cannelloni per person topped with the pancetta crunch (recipe follows). Serves 6


Pancetta Crunch:

  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 150 g. pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 T. fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 T. brioche bread crumbs or other bread crumbs


Render the pancetta in a fry pan, over medium-high heat, with the butter. Add the fresh thyme and let it pop for a few moments then turn off the heat and add the bread crumbs. Let everything dry up a bit and sprinkle the top of the cannelloni with the mixture.

(* find cannelloni tubes at Spinelli’s Italian Centre Shop, Lina’s Italian Market, Scarpone’s Italian Store, and The Italian Supermarket)