Cannelloni are thick pasta tubes which are generally cooked by stuffing them with meat or vegetable stuffing But this particular recipe will help you learn how to stuff and cook cannelloni tubes with a beef stuffing. The delicious stuffed cannelloni tubes are then topped with a layer of tomato sauce and a layer of grated cheese before baking it in the oven. Although the recipe is a bit time consuming, but every bite of it is worth the time and efforts.
Difficulty level: Medium
Servings per recipe: 8-10
Estimated time required for preparation: 15-20 minutes
Estimated time required for cooking: 25-30 minutes
Estimated time required for baking: 15-25 minutes
1 large pot
1 large bowl
1 9×13-inch Pyrex dish or baking pan
1 wooden stirring spoon
2 pounds of ground beef
12-16 uncooked cannelloni tubes
4 teaspoon of dried oregano
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2/3rd cups of breadcrumbs
1 cup + ½ cup of grated parmesan or fontina cheese
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil
For the Tomato Sauce
8 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
5-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons of granulated white sugar
1 cup of dry white wine or water
4 cups of peeled and chopped plum tomatoes
Salt, to taste
2 medium onions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Method of Cooking
1. Fill a pot halfway up with water and place that on medium high heat. Add a few generous pinches of salt to the water and let it come to boil. Once the water starts boiling, tip-in the cannelloni tubes and cook them for hardly 4-5 minutes. This is because the pasta tubes will be cooked once again in the oven and if you boil them too long in the water they will break and fall apart after you complete the dish. While the pasta tubes are boiling, take a skillet and place it on the cooktop.
2. Grease the skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of oil and wait until the oil heats up considerably. Once the oil starts smoking or crackling add the minced garlic to it and fry that for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly browned and aromatic. Once that happens, add-in the onions and sauté them until they turn soft but not browned. Next, add the ground beef and cook on medium heat until the beef is no longer pink and turns into a rich brown color. Once done, turn off the heat and tilt the skillet gently to drain off half of the fat.
3. Now transfer the sautéed beef to a mixing bowl and add the breadcrumbs, a bit of salt, black pepper and the dried oregano it. Stir all the things together until they are nicely combined. Once done, let the beef cool down and come down to room temperature. Once the beef cools down, add the grated cheese and the eggs to it. Stir the mixture quickly to prevent the eggs from getting cooked. Then set aside the bowl and take another clean and dry skillet. Place the skillet on high heat and grease it with the remaining olive oil.
4. While the oil is heating up, you can drain the cannelloni tubes by tipping them into a colander. Next, add the remaining chopped onion to the oil and fry until they turn translucent and soft, which will take about 2-3 minutes. Follow that by adding the chopped tomato and the tomato paste.
Stir and cook the sauce on medium high heat for 5 minutes and then add the dry white wine to it. Cook the sauce stirring occasionally for 5 minutes more or until the alcohol evaporates and gets reduced to half of its original quantity. Once that happens, add the chopped fresh basil, a pinch of salt, black pepper and granulated white sugar to it.
5. Cook the sauce for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. While the sauce is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your Pyrex dish by spraying it with the cooking spray. Once you are done with the sauce, remove it from the cooktop and turn off the heat.
Now you can start stuffing the cannelloni tubes. But before that, pour a ladleful of the sauce in the Pyrex dish and spread it all over the dish to coat the entire base of the dish with it.
6. Next, stuff the cannelloni tubes carefully with the beef mixture and transfer them to the Pyrex dish. Arrange the pasta tubes side by side. Finally, pour the remaining sauce over the cannelloni tubes and sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese all over the layer of sauce. Cover the dish with an aluminum foil. Once done, insert the Pyrex dish in the oven and bake the pasta for 15-25 minutes or until the cheese at the top melts and turns bubbly.