Delicate sheets of egg pasta are stuffed with a veal and spinach center which is then topped with creamy bechamel sauce and baked. This is a great recipe for entertaining as it can be prepared in the morning, refrigerated, and baked just before serving.
by Deborah Mele
1 Recipe Egg Pasta, or 5 oz. Purchased Fresh Pasta Sheets
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
1/4 Pound Ground Veal
1/4 Pound Mortadella, Ground
2 Ounces Prosciutto, Minced
2 Cups Spinach, Steamed, Drained And Chopped
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese Plus 1/2 Cup for Topping
Salt & Pepper
Dash of Oregano
3 Cups Whole Milk
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
Pinch of Salt
To make the bechamel, melt the butter over medium heat. When foaming, add the flour and stir briskly with a whisk or spoon. Cook for about 2 minutes, then slowly add the milk, whisking continuously. Cook for about 3-4 minutes more, until it is of medium-thick consistency, similar to a runny pudding or yogurt. Remove from heat and set aside. Makes about 3 cups.
To make the filling, to the heated oil, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the pork or veal, and cook until no longer pink. Drain off the fat, and cool. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled meat mixture, the mortadella, prosciutto, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, spinach and season to taste. Set aside. Prepare the egg pasta, and cut into 8 four and a half inch squares. Cook the pasta sheets in boiling water for just 1 minute, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Place about 1/3 cup filling into the center of each pasta sheet, and roll up into a cylinder. Once all sheets are filled, place about 1 cup of the bechamel on the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch pan, and then lay the cannelloni’s on top of this.
Spread the remaining bechamel on top, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until bubbling and golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Carefully remove the cannelloni, two to a plate, and serve.