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This recipe comes from the German translation of Time-Life's “Die Küche in Italien”, originally published in 1968. Apart from the horrible US cups and spoons measurements, it's pretty good. The main reason for this recipe is to get the measures straight and to adapt them to my personal tastes.

This recipe refers to others: fresh pasta, Béchamel sauce and salsa di pomodori.

WARNING: Read the notes before using oven-ready cannelloni tubes. Also check quantities; the filling will freeze well.

quantity       ingredient       step
300 g       Deep-frozen spinach       1, 4
40 ml       Olive oil       2
100 g       Onions       2
20 g       Garlic       3
15 g       Butter       5
500 g       Lean minced beef       5
10 g       Butter       7
100 g       Chicken livers       7
2       Eggs, about 60 g each       8
2 g       Dried oregano       9
100 g       Grated Parmesan cheese       9
50 ml       Fresh cream       9
15 g       Salt       9
      Pepper       9
250 g       fresh pasta       10
1.4 litre       Sauce Béchamel (see notes)       11, 12
300 ml       Salsa di pomodori       13
50 g       Parmesan cheese       13
      Butter flakes (optional)       13

Procedure

Start at least 90 minutes before serving.

  1. Thaw the spinach. You can use fresh spinach (in this case, 375 g), but it's more work and there's no advantage.
  2. Finely chop the onion and start frying gently in the olive oil.
  3. While the onion is frying, peel and crush the garlic and add to the pan shortly before the onion is dry. The mixture should not brown.
  4. When the onions are done, add the spinach and continue frying until the moisture has evaporated. Reserve. I've found that you don't need to chop fresh “baby” spinach. Your mileage may vary.
  5. In the same frying pan, melt the butter and fry the meat until dry. Again, it shouldn't brown considerably.
  6. When the meat is done, coarsely mince meat and onion and spinach mixture to get a uniform mixture.
  7. There should be enough butter and fat left from the meat to fry the chicken liver. Fry until barely firm; the livers will cook further in the oven. Chop coarsely and add to the filling.
  8. Whisk the eggs and add to the filling.
  9. Add cheese, cream, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.
  10. Cook pasta and chop into sheets about 15 cm square.
  11. Coat the bottom of an oven dish with sauce béchamel and place the cannelloni in them:


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  12. When finished, cover with the remaining béchamel and leave to cool. The sauce will form a tough skin which makes the next step easier. And yes, this is a photo from a different batch.


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  13. Cover the surface with salsa di pomodori. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and and butter.


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  14. Bake for 30 minutes.


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Notes

The quantities above are enough for about 22 cannelloni (45 g per tube). Reckon 3 tubes per person, so it's enough for about 7 people.

How much béchamel? Over the course of the time I have come to the quantity of “béchamel from 60 g milk” per tube, so for The quantities above seem right. But if you're doing it with a different quantity, béchamel from 60 ml of milk for each tube seems about right.

Making the pasta is a significant part of the work. You can buy ready-made cannelloni tubes, mainly dry and “no cook”—in other words, the tubes cook in the oven. Most recommend a particularly liquid béchamel, and though I claimed I've had good results with some, but not all, of them, I can't recall when. In particular I had a bad experience with San Remo—despite the name, an Australian company. At first I blamed it on them, but in March 2016 I tried it with genuine Italian tubes, made by DeCecco—so genuine that the instructions are only in Italian. The results were better, but not good. I think this is a dish for fresh pasta.


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