Cannelloni are a cylindrical type of pasta generally served baked with a filling and covered by a sauce in Italian cuisine. Some types of cannelloni need to be boiled beforehand, while for others, it is enough to use a more dilute sauce or filling.Popular stuffings include spinach and ricotta or minced beef. The sauces typically used are tomato underneath and besciamella sauce to cover the top.
- 1kg lean minced beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 x 660g jars passata with basil
- large pinch caster sugar
- 400g dried cannelloni tubes
For the topping
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 600ml whole milk
- 140g soft cheese with garlic and herbs
- 140g parmesan, grated
- For the filling, dry-fry the beef in a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned – about 10 mins. Remove and set aside. Add the oil and cook the onion for 5 mins, until soft. Add the garlic for 1 min more, then tip in the beef and 1½ jars of the passata sauce and the sugar. Simmer for 20 mins while you make the white sauce.
- Heat the butter in a small pan. When foaming, stir in the flour for 1 min. Add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to achieve a lump-free sauce, then bubble for 2 mins while stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the soft cheese with seasoning until dissolved. Set aside, covered with cling film to stop a skin forming.
- To assemble, pour the remaining tomato sauce into the base of 2-3 large baking dishes or 12 individual ovenproof dishes or foil containers. Spoon the beef into the cannelloni tubes using a teaspoon and lay on top of the sauce. Pour on the white sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan. If freezing, allow to cool, then freeze wrapped well in cling film. To eat straight away, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cook for 40-45 mins until the pasta is tender and topping golden. Defrost frozen cannelloni thoroughly, then cook as above for 50 mins-55 mins.