Certain food magically functions as psychotherapy for grownups’ gustatory palette. It brings back their childhood tastes unaltered, no matter how much they broaden their flavour adventures, experiment and desperately nibbling/picking the amazing cuisines of the world. Lined cannelloni stuffed with minced meat under nutmeg scented béchamel is one fine example.
The recipes for the meat cannelloni vary. This is one of the most delicious. Take my word seriously; everyone will ask for a second dish or even for a third one, if they have the nerves to do it and it is not of course against table etiquette.
meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce
Preparation: Approximately 1 hour plus 1/2 an hour for baking and cooling down. If you have some ready cooked minced meat from our Bolognese sauce, use it. This way you double the tastiness and you save time and effort. Remember to be generous at portions as you will be asked for refill (in our family, the ingredients given are for 4 people max.)
Ingredients (serve 6-8)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
350g. minced beef
100g. roast ham chopped
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. tomato paste diluted in 1 tbsp. hot water
salt and freshly grinded pepper
1 package Cannelloni Barilla
4 ½ cups of béchamel sauce
2/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Preparing the filling: Heat the oil in medium temperature, add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent (4-5mins). Add the beef and stir until its colour changes. With a wooden spoon crumble/ smash the small meatballs that may form. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl with the ham, the egg, the diluted tomato puree and the parsley. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 220 C degrees.
Preparing the béchamel sause: Follow the simple recipe for béchamel sauce as given for the oven-baked lasagna with Bolognese sauce. The quantity is just right.
Fill the cannelloni: Lightly butter a baking pan or a Pyrex dish and spread 3 tbsp. béchamel on the bottom. Add 1/3 of the béchamel in the mixture of meat, stir and fill the cannelloni using a regular knife or a butter one (whatever works for you). Place one next to another inside the pan. Spoon the remaining mixture on top and mostly to the parts that they join. Cover the cannelloni with the rest of béchamel, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and dot some butter pieces. Cook in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until they get a nice golden colour.