Cannelloni are squares of fresh pasta that are rolled around a filling, placed side by side in a pan,
covered with sauce, and baked. Cannelloni comes from the Italian word cannello, a hollow tube or
pipe. Cannelloni can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, though meat and cheese are the most
typical. They are especially popular in Emilia-Romagna but are found in other regions of Italy as well.
Cannelloni are sometimes made with crepes rather than pasta dough. In southern Italy, both the
crepe and pasta versions are sometimes called manicotti. If you don’t wish to make fresh pasta or
crepes, you can purchase dried pasta tubes in most supermarkets. Simply cook the pasta tubes and
stuff them with your desired filling. But if you have the time, try cannelloni with fresh pasta; the
cannelloni seem as light as air.
Veal and Spinach Cannelloni
Veal and Spinach Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds boneless veal, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 pound fresh spinach
1-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
To make the veal and spinach filling:
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the veal, carrots,
celery, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
If the meat becomes dry during cooking, add a little water. Transfer the
mixture to a large bowl and allow the mixture to cool.
Add the spinach in batches to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the
spinach until completely wilted, about 5 minutes. Allow the spinach to cool.
Squeeze the spinach with your hands or press in a sieve to remove as much
water as possible.
Place the cooled veal mixture and spinach in a food processor. Chop the
mixture until very fine. Put the mixture back into a bowl. Add 1 cup of the
béchamel and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese; mix well. Fill and roll pasta
squares with the filling.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spoon half of the remaining béchamel in a thin layer in a large baking dish.
Place the pasta rolls seam side down in the baking dish. Spoon on the
remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake 30 minutes or until the cannelloni are bubbly and lightly golden. Place
under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes if you would like the top to be more browned.
Can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
(Makes about 4 cups).
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 quart (4 cups) milk
Salt and pepper
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir well;
cook 2 minutes. Add the milk in a thin stream, stirring or whisking it
continually. As the milk heats, the sauce will thicken. Add the salt, pepper,
and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce it thick and smooth,
about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.