Cannelloni (Meat-filled)

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Overview
This is so worth the work. Make the filling and sauce ahead of time, even the day before, to ease up on the pressure of assembly. Freezes very well. Not many places these days seem to have beef cannelloni any more (spinach and ricotta, anyone?) so I made my own. It’s most probably not authentic in any sense of the word, but we don’t care.

Keep the filling relatively dry – I used to use my Bolognaise sauce for this, but felt it was a bit too wet. I also prefer more of a contrast between the flavours in the filling and sauce.

This makes enough for 2 trays – make it in bulk as it’s not that much more work. The photo shows the trays before the sauce is added – otherwise you can’t see what’s in there!

Time
Baking time 35-45 minutes


Ingredients: Filling
3 TB olive oil
2 onions, diced
6+ garlic cloves, chopped
600g beef mince
4 TB tomato paste
2 TB Italian herbs
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup red wine

Ingredients: Sauce
3 TB olive oil
2 onions, diced
4+ garlic cloves, chopped
6 slices bacon, diced
4 TB tomato paste
2 cans condensed tomato soup (Big Red)
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
Small handful of chopped fresh basil

Ingredients: Assembly
Pasta sheets – double batch if home made, slightly thicker than usual (5-6) (or store-bought lasagna sheets, or dried cannelloni tubes)
Grated tasty cheese
Optional Béchamel Sauce if desired

Equipment
Pasta maker / attachment if using home made pasta
Stick blender or Thermomix

Method

Meat filling:
1 – Cook onions and garlic in heated olive oil until translucent

2 – Add mince and cook until browned, breaking up any lumps

3 – Add remaining ingredients and cook for 15-20 minutes

4 – Allow to cool, skimming off any excess liquid

Sauce:
5 – Cook onions, garlic and bacon in heated olive oil until onions are translucent

6 – Add tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes

7 – Add soup concentrate, sauce and basil, cook for 5 minutes

8 – Allow to cool before blending into a smooth puree

Assembly:
Preheat oven to 200° C
9 – Ladle some sauce into the tray (I use the Pyrex rectangular ones)

10 – Cut the lasagna sheets into 15cm lengths

11 – Spoon approximately 4 TB of filling down the centre, then roll up a tube and place on the sauce, seam side down. Repeat until the tray is full.

12. Cover the pasta with sauce – be very generous. Spoon on the optional Béchamel Sauce if desired, and finish with a coating of grated cheese.

13 – Bake 35-45 minutes, then test if pasta is cooked by dropping a skewer or knife through it.