Put the ricotta through a strainer and into a bowl, seasoning it with a good pinch of salt, the grated Parmigiano, and a beaten egg. Mix well.
Prick the sausages well and set them to cook in water to cover; once the water has evaporated brown them in the grease that they'll have given off, then peel them, crumble them, and stir them into the ricotta mixture.
Finally, sautÃ© the minced herbs in the lard or butter until the onion is lightly browned, stir in the tomato paste diluted in water, season the mixture lightly with salt and pepper, and simmer it for 5 minutes or so, adding a little more water if it begins to dry out.
While the sauce is simmering roll out the dough if you're starting from scratch, and cut it into 3 by 4-inch rectangles. Once the pasta is cut cook it a few pieces at a time in abundant lightly salted water (if you're using commercially prepared shells follow the directions on the package). Remove the pasta from the water with a slotted spoon while it's still rather al dente, and lay the pieces on a damp cloth taking care lest they be touching and stick.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 250 F (170 C).
You are now ready to fill your cannelloni: lay some of the filling along the long edge of the first sheet, roll it up to make the cannelloni, and place it in a well buttered, elegant baking dish. Repeat the procedure until pasta and filling are all used up. Pour the sauce over the cannelloni, dust them with more grated Parmigiano and dot them with butter, and heat them through for about 20 minutes.
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