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    Meat Filled Cannelloni

    Source of Recipe

    Posted on by David Ross from the Time-Life Food of the World Series, The Cooking of Italy, 1968.

    Recipe Introduction

    David posted this on the ‘Dinner’ thread and it looked so good that I wanted to make it. He very, very kindly typed the entire thing out for me! It is absolutely delicious and not really that hard to do. I love the idea of using wonton wrappers instead of making your own pasta!! David’s notes are in brackets [ ] and mine are in these things: { }. UPDATE 4/2020: I did this again and made my own pasta, which was not a huge success. I think I will stick to egg roll wrappers or purchased fresh pasta sheets in the future. NOTE the comment about how much of the besciamella (bechamel) to use. I forgot and used the full amount and it was WAY too much!

    List of Ingredients

    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1/2 cup finely chopped onions
    2 cups Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
    3 tbsp. tomato paste
    1tbsp. fresh basil
    1 tbsp. fresh oregano
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tsp. sugar
    salt and black pepper

    [The original recipe calls for making pasta by hand. You can do that, but I use fresh wonton wrappers, or dried sheets of flat pasta. If you use dried pasta just boil it ahead of time to soften it for wrapping the cannelloni.] {I used egg roll wrappers}.

    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1/3 cup chopped onions
    1 tsp. chopped garlic
    1 ten ounce package frozen chopped spinach, water squeezed out
    2 tbsp. butter
    1 lb. beef round, finely chopped [I use hamburger]
    2 chicken livers
    5 tbsp. grated parmesan
    2 tbsp. cream
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp. dried oregano {I used 1 t. of the fresh}.
    Salt and pepper

    6 tbsp. butter
    6 tbsp. flour
    1 cup milk
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. white pepper
    [I also add a dash of grated nutmeg]


    Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, [I add garlic and the oregano, which aren't in the original recipe], sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 40 minutes. Press the sauce through a food mill. [I puree the sauce in my blender or food processor]. {I just used crushed tomatoes}.

    Heat the olive oil in an 8-10 inch skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until soft but not browned. Stir in the spinach and cook. When all of the moisture has boiled away, transfer to a large bowl. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in the same skillet and brown the ground meat. Add the meat to the onion spinach mixture. Melt 1 more tbsp. butter to the skillet and cook the chicken livers for 3-4 minutes or until they are firm. Chop them coarsely. Add the livers to the onion spinach mixture. Add 5 tbsp. parmesan, the cream and the eggs and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

    In a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Pour in the milk and cream all at once, whisking constantly until the flour is dissolved. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk until the sauce is thick. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the salt and white pepper.

    Preheat the oven to 375. Place a bit of the filling on the bottom third of a sheet of pasta. Roll the pasta up into a tube. Pour a film of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a heavy baking pan. Lay the cannelloni side by side on the tomato sauce. Pour some of the besciamella over the cannelloni {David uses about 3/4 c. of the besciamella, I used more like 1 – 1 1/2 c.} Dot the cannelloni with some of the tomato sauce. Scatter 2 tbsp. [I use lots more] of the grated parmesan over the cannelloni. Dot the top with butter. Bake the cannelloni uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauces are bubbling. Slide the baking dish under a hot broiler for 30 seconds, [I go about 3 minutes], to brown the top. Serve the cannelloni directly from the oven piping hot.

    {When I made this, the filling made enough for 8 cannelloni made from egg roll wrappers}.

    Serves 4 – 6.




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