Tonight you will learn how to cook a traditional Italian primo piatto, well know and appreciated in many parts of the world: Cannelloni Stuffed with Meat.
This rich and filling pasta, with its refined flavor, delicate aroma and sophisticated appearance, is ideal for a dinner party or a special occasion. This is an easy recipe to follow, but it will take more than my usual 30-minutes recipes. The nice thing about this dish is that you can prepare it ahead of time, and warm it up (or bake it) in the oven before serving.
I love cannelloni pasta because it can be filled with a large variety of stuffing. Tonight I was in the mood for meat, the most classic recipe. I used mostly ground beef with some ground pork. You can also change and experiment with your favorite. I do like to have at least some pork in the mix: it gives a delicious flavor that, I think, beef by itself doesn't have. The total one and a half pound of ground meat is the perfect amount to stuff the 24 cannelloni found in one package of Oro Riscossa cannelloni that I used. This is an oven-ready pasta, so it doesn't need boiling before baking, and is very easy to stuff. I bought mine at Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica. For your convenience, also see the Amazon.com link below. In case you cannot find already shaped cannelloni, you can use fresh lasagna pasta and roll it up.
Here is what you need:
Ingredients: for 24 cannelloni, serving about 6 people.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 lb of ground pork - I bought organic, 85% lean, 15% fat
- 1 lb of ground beef - I bought grass-fed 85% lean, 15% fat
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 large can (28oz) of tomatoes, crushed. I buy whole or diced tomatoes, in tomato juice (nothing else added), and I crush it with my food processor
- About 8 oz of fontina cheese (or mozzarella, or another mild cheese), shredded or cut in small pieces
- 1 package, about 24 Cannelloni, or lasagna pasta
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
Step 1: Saute' the onion and one crushed garlic clove in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
With a teaspoon stuff the cannelloni with the meat and cheese. I work directly in the pan where I cooked the meat and add about two teaspoons of meat in each end of the cannelloni, so about four teaspoons total for each cannellone. I know, it might get messy, but don't worry! The cannelloni will be covered with sauce and nobody will notice!
Perfect dinner to share with your special someone... Enjoy ;)