Here is another great recipe courtesy of Mario Batali. Josh and I made this one last night and it was delicious!! This cannelloni is a little sweeter than the ones I’ve had in the past, and had that little “something” that always seems to be missing when I make cannelloni. Mmmm… this one is definitely a keeper!! It is also not for the time conscious! This one takes a while to make, so be sure to save this for a weekend when you have time. But it is so worth it J
Time: 1 hour 20 prep, 30 minutes cook time
Cannelloni al Forno
Step 1: Make the Besciamella (20 minutes)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly until it is light golden brown (6 to 7 minutes).
2. At the same time, bring another medium saucepan with the milk almost to a boil. Add the milk to the golden brown mixture, constantly stirring in one cup at a time. Whisk the mixture until smooth and bring to a boil (constantly whisking- or else the mixture will burn). Cook, whisking, until thickened (about 10 minutes), then remove from heat. Season with the salt and nutmeg. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then cover and refrigerate.
NOTE: the cannelloni only calls for one cup of this mixture, while the recipe makes a little more than 3 cups. We cut everything into one third and only made one cup of the besciamella.
Step 2: Make the basic tomato sauce (40 minutes)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
½ medium carrot, finely shredded
Two 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown (8-10 minutes). Add the carrot and thyme and cook until the carrot is soft (about 5 minutes).
2. Add the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is as thick as hot cereal (about 30 minutes). Season with salt. This sauce can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen for six months.
NOTE: to save time, we used canned, plain tomato sauce, and added that to the vegetables, instead of canned whole tomatoes with the juice. This will save the 30 minutes needed to simmer the sauce. Only a few minutes on the stove and the sauce is ready.
Step 3: Now, we are ready to make the cannelloni!!
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 oz. ground pork
8 oz. ground veal
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cannelloni noodles (we bought pre-made, but Mario gives the recipe in his book for homemade- I didn’t include that because of how long this recipe is)
1 cup basic tomato sauce
1 cup besciamella
1. In a 10-12 inch sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over high heat until it foams and subsides. Add the ground pork and the ground veal, cook stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps of meat, until brown. Drain excess fat, then add ½ cups of the Parmigiano, the flour, and milk and bring to just under a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow the filling to cool. Stir in the egg and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside
2. Cook your noodles as instructed on the label. Use an ice bath to drop the noodles into after cooking- this will help to keep them from ripping when you stuff them with the meat mixture.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
4. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish (9x13) in an even layer. (we used a little more than that)
5. Fill the cannelloni noodles with the meat mixture, and line the bottom of the pan with the stuffed noodles. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and then the besciamella. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauces and cheese are bubbling and the edges of the pasta are crisp and browned. Serve immediately from baking dish.
This recipe seems complicated… but trust me, it’s worth it!! It was delicious J
Batali, M. (2005). Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian recipes to cook at home. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers Inc.