Cannelloni with Robiola Cheese and Sea Asparagus

A unique spin on an Italian classic, this dish recalls warm spring weekends, perhaps under the shade of wisteria in bloom. This recipe from Apicius chef students and faculty provides steps for making your own cannelloni dough but you can easily substitute with pre-made lasagna sheets. Buon appetito!


800g sea asparagus
400g robiola
200g milk
200g fresh cream
150g re-milled durum wheat semolina
80g grated parmesan
10g corn starch
3 cloves of garlic
2 eggs
extra virgin olive oil


For the dough: Mix the semolina with 60g of warm water, an egg, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil until a stretchy dough is obtained. Let it rest for 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap.

For the filling: While the pasta rests, clean the sea asparagus by removing the bottom of the stems. Wash it very carefully, changing water 2 or 3 times to remove any dirt. Blanch in boiling salted water for 3 minutes then drain it. Sauté for 2 minutes in a pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic (with the peel, lightly crushed). Then grate the robiola with the parmesan and combine the cheeses with salt, pepper, and an egg. Chop a third of the sea asparagus and add it to the filling.

For the béchamel: Heat the cream with the milk and a clove of crushed garlic. When it boils, remove the garlic and add the cornstarch previously dissolved in a little cold water. Cook for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

Roll out the dough into thin sheets, cut them into 18 rectangles of about 8 × 10 cm. Blanch them in boiling salted water for a few seconds, then pass them in cold water, spread them out on a cloth and pat them dry. Stuff the rectangles with the filling shaped into logs (a pastry bag can be helpful) on one of the long sides. Spread a little filling on the other long side, so that the dough adheres when closing the rectangles into the cannelloni shapes. Arrange the remaining sea asparagus on the bottom of a baking dish greased with olive oil, then place the cannelloni on top. Cover them with the béchamel, sprinkle grated parmesan on top and bake at 200° C for 10 minutes. The parmesan should be melted and golden brown. Serve with a glass of white wine.