Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Cannelloni comes from the Latin word canna meaning "reed". Cannelloni are a cylindrical type of pasta, similar to mancotti, but stuffed with meat instead of cheese. Cannelloni originated in Naples, Italy. Manicotti is an Italian-American invention. If you can find packaged dry cannelloni tubes, it will save you time; just add the chopped fontina to the meat sauce.

1 recipe for Casa Tomato Sauce (recipe is in my cookbook) or good quality store bought.

Meat Sauce
2 T olive oil                                                                
¼ lb pancetta, minced                                               
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated                                 
3 cloves garlic, minced                                   
1 lb ground beef                                                        
¼ lb ground pork
1 T freeze-dried basil or chopped fresh basil
2 cups Casa Tomato Sauce
3 T tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper                        
6 to 8 fresh lasagna sheets or packaged dry cannelloni tubes

1 cup chopped fontina cheese

Besciamella Cheese Sauce
1 ½ cups milk                                                 
2 T flour                                                
4 T butter                                                                         
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ t grated nutmeg
1 t sea salt 

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and slowly brown the pancetta for 5 minutes.
Add the onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one minute.
Add the meats and cook another 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher, into very small pieces. 
Add the basil, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth, Parmigiano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Partially cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove lid and simmer another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Spread the lasagna sheets out in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Spread some oil on the tops of the sheets. Cut the lasagna sheets to fit, if they are too wide for your baking dish.
Ladle some Casa Tomato Sauce to cover the bottom of the baking dish, about ½-inch (12 mm) thick.
Sprinkle some fontina on top of each lasagna sheet. Spoon on some of the meat filling across the long end of each pasta sheet. Starting from this long end, roll the pasta up tightly to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a row in the baking dish.
In a small saucepan, heat up the milk and add the butter, cheeses, and nutmeg. 
Heat to a low boil, then simmer until thickened. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Spoon over the cannelloni so that it is covered. 
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 2 to 4

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