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Broccoli cannelloni & a macaroni factory in Brooklyn

milianelli macaroni factory brooklyn

When I started this blog, I did it thinking that in every kitchen you can find pots, pans, ingredients of various types but over all stories, emotions and memories. So it may happen that you come across an old picture, yellowed by time and memories, and meet a nice person like Elisabetta that tells you a story of pasta and dreams, of Italian flavors in American sauce and of difficult times and solidarity. It was 1920 when Elisabetta’s grandfather left Italy, a country which was just emerging from World War I and, with his brother Santi, after a long travel by sea arrived in the promise land. After years of war and weeks in the ocean, New York must have seemed closer to hell than to heaven but Giovanni and Santi, like many others, managed to find their way. From the work and the determination of these 2 brothers was born the Milianelli Macaroni Factory, a laboratory – shop where they produced tortellini, macaroni and tagliatelle. The Italian community was very close and the Milianellis brothers hired only Italians, a great help for those that, coming from far away in a country with different cultures, different traditions and over all a different language, felt lonely and lost.

After few years Giovanni came back to Italy, while Santi became a real American. He died in Brooklyn and left everything to the pediatric hospital for cancer research. If among you there’s someone from Brooklyn that remember this shop, please contact me, I’m sure that Elisabetta and her family would be very happy to know it!

Now it’s time to eat something! This dish of broccoli cannelloni is  my creation to celebrate the adventurous spirit and the great heart of the Italians who brought into the world, often with great sacrifices, the goodness of our cuisine, the beauty of our language and the cheerfulness of our traditions. Buon appetito!



– 1 pack of cannelloni

– 1 broccoli

– 450 g of potatoes (16 oz.)

– 150 g of mountain cheese* (5 1/2 oz.)

– 1 clove of garlic

– 750 g of tomato sauce (26 oz.)

– salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil

– 3 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese

* I used Appenzeller that is one of my favourite Switzerland cheese, but you can obtain great result also with the Italian Fontina

Wash, cut and boil the broccoli in salted boiling water till it become so soft that you can mash it with a fork. Wash the potatoes and boil them in salted boiling water, then peel them and mash with a potatoes masher. In the meanwhile pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan with 1 clove of garlic, add the tomato sauce and cook at low flame for 15 minutes. Pour the mashed broccoli and potatoes in a large bowl, add the mountain cheese cut in small cubes, adjust with salt and pepper and mix very well, till get a homogeneous mixture. Butter a baking dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, then start to stuff the cannelloni with the broccoli and potatoes mixture. Place them side by side and cover them with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Cook in pre-heated oven at 180°C (350° F) for 30 minutes.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh I wish there was a fresh pasta factory close to my home!!

    31 January 2013
    • well, this is a 100% Italian blog so maybe we can try to make our own pasta! Thanks for visiting!

      5 February 2013
  2. Amazing picture and story! Thanks for sharing! Cheers from Thailand…

    15 February 2013

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