Let me just start by saying, this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.

No I am not exaggerating. I am so in love with this recipe that eating it almost made me forget about the inordinate amount of work that goes into it.

It’s. That. Good.

I am pretty sure the awesomeness of this cannelloni is derived from the fact that this whole recipe is FROM SCRATCH.

You’re probably wondering why the hell I decided to make this recipe in the first place. I recently joined the Daring Kitchen which presents monthly cooking and baking challenge recipes. I figured this would be the best way to really test my skills and improve. Of course the first recipe challenge I encounter is a complete nose dive into the deep end…

Thankfully I decided to make this recipe on a night I actually had company (the only reason I say “thankfully” is because it turned out so well. If it had tasted terrible I would be singing a different tune). Though it took me a couple of hours to complete the meal (I don’t have a pasta roller so I had to hand-roll the pasta. Did I mention my arms are stronger than they’ve ever been?), it was unbelievably well received by both my hubby and our guest. Not to mention I fell in love with pasta for the millionth time…

Totally worth the time and effort.

I even ate the leftovers the next day for breakfast.

Don’t judge me.

Cannelloni di Carne

Cannelloni di Carne

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Best indulgent pasta dish. EVER.

Ingredients

Fresh Egg Pasta

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 cups milk, hot
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Filling

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 Tbsp white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 3/4 cups of the bechamel sauce as per above recipe
  • Salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups of tomato puree
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Put the flour and eggs in a food processor for the pasta and mix. When the dough looks like crumbs pour it onto the bench top sprinkled with a little flour. Knead well by hand until you obtain a smooth dough. Make it into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Roll out the pasta dough until you can cut at least eight 4" by 6"sheets of pasta.
  3. For the bechamel, put the butter in a non-stick pot and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated (this is the 'roux'). Let it cook for a minute or two.
  4. Now start adding hot milk little by little, while mixing continuously until the milk is well incorporated. Do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated. Keep doing so until all the milk is incorporated.
  5. Add salt and nutmeg and cook it on low flame for 10 minutes or until it thickens.
  6. When ready, cover it to prevent a film to appear on the surface.
  7. For the filling. put the 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pan with the chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent. Now add the mince and bay leaf and stir well with a wooden spoon making sure you remove all the lumps. Brown the meat well. Add the white wine and raise the fire to burn off the alcohol. Cook for 10 minutes on medium fire and then keep it aside to cool down.
  8. Now prepare the tomato sauce. Place the 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a pot with the chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent. Now add the tomato puree, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Cover it and cook it on a low flame for 20 minutes. Then keep it aside to cool down.
  9. To make the filling, mix the cooked mince with the 3/4 cup of bechamel sauce and 1 1/2 cups of Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Put a large pot with salty water on the fire and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. Do this is batches (I used a shallow but large pot and cooked them in one layer so they didn't stick together). Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a clean tea towel to cool down.
  11. Now take one sheet of cooked pasta and put 1/8 of the filling along the long side of the rectangle. Roll it over to make a cannelloni. Do so for the remaining rectangles of pasta.
  12. Take a big enough oven dish to fit all your cannelloni tightly. Spray it with some cooking oil (or melted butter) and pour some tomato sauce on the bottom. Spread it well, especially in the corners. Put the cannelloni in the oven dish on 1 layer.
  13. Cover the cannelloni with the remaining tomato sauce and 1 1/4 cup bechamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano.
  14. Bake them in a pre-heated moderate oven 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then broil them at 400 degrees for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.