Posted in : In the kitchen, Italian on by : Richard Lamse

Spinach-beef-ricotta filling:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
500 gr minced (ground) beef
250 gr frozen spinach, thawed (or use fresh)
3 tbsp tomato paste
125 gr ricotta
1 egg
1 tl dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce:

2.5 dl milk
1 sprig of parsley
5 whole black pepper corns
30 gr butter or margarine
1 tbsp flour
1.25 dl heavy cream (whipping cream)

Tomato sauce:

425 gr passata di pomodoro from a can (14oz tomato sauce can)
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sugar


12-15 dried cannelloni or manicotti
150 gr (freshly) grated mozzarella
50 gr (freshly) grated parmesan cheese
1 oven dish


Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry onion and garlic on a low heat until onion becomes translucent. Put the heat to high and add the beef and separate with a fork until brown. If the beef is very greasy, remove some of the grease. Lower the heat and add the tomato paste. Stir for 1 minute and add the spinach. Stir for another minute and remove from heat.

Béchamel sauce:

In a small sauce pan, combine milk, parsley and pepper corn and bring this to a boil while constantly stirring. Let is boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

Tomato sauce:

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and bring the sauce to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bachamel sauce:

To finish the sauce, melt butter on a low heat in a sauce pan. Add flower and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it slowly cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


In a bowl mix ricotta, egg and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the ricotta mixture with the minced meat mixture.

Pre heat your oven with 180˚C (395 ˚F).  Grease oven dish with some olive oil.

Fill the cannelloni with the minced meat mixture using a teaspoon or piping bag.

Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Add the cannelloni and cover it with the béchamel sauce. Add the remaining tomato sauce over the béchamel sauce and top it with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake the cannelloni for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Check with a small knife of the cannelloni is cooked. If more cooking time is required, lower the heat to 175 (350) and cover the top with aluminium foil to prevent further browning.

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