Friday, September 17, 2010

Delia's Baked Cannelloni

This is the kind of recipe that is equally useful as a midweek family meal or for when entertaining.  It can be done in advance and reheated to serve and is fabulously tasty.  It does require a bit of effort as there are a few steps, but I love the idea of using lasagne sheets for cannelloni, it is both easier and tastes great.  The bechamel sauce is one I now use regularly when making other dishes, infusing the flavours into the milk first is absolutely worth the effort for the extra dimensions in adds to the taste.  I can't recommend this recipe enough! It also freezes well! I added a tin of chopped tomatoes to the recipe, just to break the whiteness/creaminess.


 8 fresh lasagne sheets (weighing about 6 oz/175 g)
 5 oz (150 g) Mozzarella, diced
 1½ oz (40 g) finely grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), plus a little extra to serve

For the filling:
 8 oz (225 g) minced pork
 1 dessertspoon chopped sage leaves
 3½ oz (95 g) mortadella or unsmoked bacon
 2 level tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
 3 oz (75 g) white bread without crusts, soaked in 2 tablespoons milk
 1 large egg
 a little nutmeg
 salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the béchamel sauce:

 1 pint (570 ml) milk
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 1¼ oz (35 g) plain flour
 1 bay leaf
 good grating of whole nutmeg
 2½ fl oz (65 ml) double cream
 salt and freshly milled black pepper

First make the filling by placing all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blending everything on a low speed until thoroughly combined. If you don't have a processor, chop everything as finely as possible with a sharp knife and blend it with a fork. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 30 minutes to firm up.

Next make the sauce by placing the milk, butter, flour, bay leaf, nutmeg and seasonings into a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, then, whisking all the time, slowly bring it up to simmering point until the sauce has thickened. Then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaf, stir in the cream, taste to check the seasoning, cover and leave aside. Now pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C), then cut the lasagne sheets in half so that you have 16 pieces.

Next divide the meat mixture in half and then each half into 8, then lightly roll each of these into a sausage shape about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. Place each one on to a piece of lasagne and roll it up, starting from one of the shorter edges. As you do this, arrange them in the baking dish with the join underneath – what you should have is two rows neatly fitting together lengthways in the dish.

Now pour the sauce over and scatter the Mozzarella cubes here and there.

Finally, scatter the Parmesan over the top and place the dish on the centre shelf of the oven to bake for 40 minutes, by which time it should be golden brown and bubbling. Then remove it from the oven and let it settle for about 10 minutes before serving. Finally, sprinkle a little extra Parmesan over.


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Sasa said...

I love cannelloni too - a bit of a change from lasage when you want baked pasta. I usually use a spinach and feta alternated with ragu filled ones but this looks delightful too.