Although this dish never looks particularly appetising (hard to dish up neatly!) it is absolutely delicious. Fairly similar to lasagne but much more fun to make and more delicious in my opinion. Cannelloni is pasta tubes (or lasagne sheets rolled up) stuffed with a filling - in this recipe it is mince and onion, but spinach and ricotta is also very popular, and vegetarian. I then used a passata to cover the tubes in a dish, and made a bechamel sauce to finish, with lots of cheddar cheese of course. This is a real comfort food treat, and I guarantee you will love it! I served this on a bed of spinach leaves with sun-dried tomato flat bread. Mm mm.
- drizzle of olive oil- 500g beef mince
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 small red onions, chopped
- pinch of mixed dried italian herbs
- large jar of passata
- salt and pepper
- handful of fresh basil, torn
- handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 egg, beaten (for binding)
- cannelloni tubes (about 12)
(For bechamel sauce)
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 300ml milk
- lots of cheddar cheese, grated
- spinach and cherry tomatoes, to serve
1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the mince, with the garlic, onion and dried herbs. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
2. In a bowl, mix the passata with the salt and pepper, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes. Set aside.
3. Grease a large baking dish with oil and pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
4. Once the mince mixture is cool enough to handle, mix with the beaten head and stuff the pasta tubes. Warning - this can be tricky and messy - the key is to stuff them quite full so the mixture is stuck together. Place the cannelloni tubes in the dish
5. Pour over the passata until the pasta is covered.
6. Next, make the bechamel sauce. Heat the butter in a pan, and once frothing, stir in the flour. Stir for about a minute, then very gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly. This can take around 20 minutes to thicken over a low heat but it is worth being patient because a white sauce can go wrong so easily.
7. Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, pour over the top of the passata covered pasta tubes, and top with lots of grated cheddar.
8. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and cook for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown and the pasta is soft.
9. Serve on a bed of fresh spinach leaves, with cherry tomatoes.