Hearty stuffed pasta with a meat filling, complemented with a rich tomato sauce and béchamel. This delicious cannelloni will soon be your new homemade gourmet dinner of choice that your whole family will love!
Photo: Stock Adobe
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 pound ground veal
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for garnishing pasta
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten
- One 10 ounce box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely squeezed dry
- 1 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 1 cup béchamel , recipe follows
- Basic Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
- Salt, to taste
- Bechamel Sauce:
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 box dried Cannelloni OR 1 pound fresh lasagne noodles
Make the tomato and béchamel sauces first. To save time you can make the tomato sauce a couple of days ahead. Béchamel sauce is best the day it's made and I like to make it after browning the meat. Set it aside, off the heat, while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over high heat until it bubbles. Add the ground pork and veal and cook over high heat until the meat is browned. Drain the excess fat and stir in the Parmigiano, the flour and the milk and reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir in the egg and spinach. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook cannelloni according to package directions but be sure to subtract 3 minutes from the cooking time. This will ensure the pasta is al dente and won't turn to mush when you bake it.
When the pasta is done, strain and let cool. When you can comfortable hold the tubes, use a spoon to stuff the filling into each tube.
If you're using fresh pasta sheets, cut the sheets into rectangles measuring 4 inches by 6 inches.
Divide the meat filling evenly among the rectangles and roll the pasta around the filling, jelly-roll style making 14 to 16 canneloni.
In an 8 or 9-inch square, oven-proof casserole, spoon half the tomato sauce across the bottom in an even layer. Carefully lay each stuffed pasta in the casserole so that they are in a single layer. Top with the remaining tomato sauce followed by the bechamel sauce.
Finish with the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until the sauces and cheese are bubbling and the edges of the pasta are crispy and browned. Serve immediately.
To make the Tomato Sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
To make the Béchamel Sauce:
In a small pot, heat milk and keep warm on low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat butter until melted. Add flour and whisk constantly until smooth.
Over medium heat, cook until very light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Off the heat, slowly add milk to butter mixture, whisking continuously until very smooth, then put back on stove and bring to a low boil.
Cook 10 minutes and remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.