Stuffed with classic bolognese sauce and topped with creamy homemade béchamel sauce, this is the best cannelloni bolognese recipe - a huge family favourite!
This is one of those recipes I've been wanting to post for some time and I thought it would be the right time to do so, especially following my recent vegan pasta recipe.
Cannelloni Bolognese, like lasagne, has been a family classic in our household for some time now and it's one of those comforting recipes I will always go back to on Sundays or special days. It combines those elements we all love in a perfectly baked pasta dish; good pasta, delicious meat sauce, topped up with béchamel sauce, cheese, and fresh parsley. It's really easy to do and only requires a few steps, so if you are looking for The Best Cannelloni Bolognese out there, then I suggest you to read on and try this!
This recipe consists of three main parts: the bolognese sauce, the béchamel sauce, and filling and baking the cannelloni. You may come across traditional Italian recipes of cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach,(which I'm planning to post in the future), but this recipe uses a delicious bolognese sauce with tomato passata, dried herbs and spices.
First, you need to prepare the bolognese sauce. In the meantime, you can start preparing the béchamel sauce. The cannelloni are then filled with the bolognese mixture one by one, topped with béchamel sauce, and baked in a preheated oven for half an hour. Once out of the oven, cannelloni are topped with chopped fresh parsley and served warm!
Ingredients needed for The Best Cannelloni Bolognese
For the bolognese sauce, you will need:
- Dried cannelloni pasta
- Ground lean beef
- Olive oil
- Red Bell Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Dried Chilli
- White wine
- Vegetable stock
- Tomato passata
For the béchamel sauce, you will need:
- Shredded Cheese (cheddar or emmental)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh Parsley
Its very important to add some liquid around the cannelloni before baking, This will be absorbed by the pasta as it cooks in the oven. Make sure to check the pasta as its being baked and add some water if it dries up completely. Its perfectly fine if the pasta is slightly crunchy on top. I also like to add some extra liquid when preparing the bolognese sauce, and then use this as base liquid in the baking dish.
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The Best Cannelloni Bolognese
- 250 g cannelloni (dry)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 500 g lean ground beef or any ground meat/mixture of choice
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely diced
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. dried chilli (optional)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 4 tbsp. white wine (optional)
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 600 g tomato puree (tomato passata)
- 180 mL vegetable stock (¾ cup) + extra as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup. shredded cheese (emmenthal or cheddar)
- 1½ cup milk semi skimmed (360 mL)
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
Baking and Extra
- 120 mL water (½ cup) + extra as needed
- 5 tbsp. mozzarella cheese shredded (optional)
- fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375 F). Prepare a large baking pan or ovenproof dish (place empty dry cannelloni to ensure correct size of pan/dish).
- In a large non-stick skillet, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and saute onions until soft and transluscent (approx 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and dried herbs (Italian seasoning, chilli, oregano) and saute for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Add white wine, increase heat to high, and deglaze the skillet.
- Add thinly sliced and diced carrots and ground meat. Cook ground beef on medium heat until cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to break up chunks of meat while cooking.
- Add tomato passata and vegetable stock, decrease heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If sauce starts to dry out, add more water.
- In the meantime, prepare the béchamel sauce. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and slowly add sifted flour, whisking thoroughly as you go.
- Add the milk and nutmeg and stir the mixture continuously and bring to a simmer. The sauce should start to thicken up. Turn off heat and shredded add emmental or cheddar cheese.
- Pour some bolognese sauce on bottom of baking pan (enough to cover bottom). Spoon bolognese mixture into piping bag. Snip off tip or add a large round frosting tip (it should be large enough for bolognese sauce to pass through). Pipe bolognese mixture into each of the dry cannelloni tubes. Place one end at of each tube flat on a plate/baking dish so that mixture doesn't come out. If you don't have a piping bag, fill cannelloni by placing 4-5 teaspoonfuls of sauce into each tube.
- Lay each cannelloni tube into baking dish, placing cannelloni as close as possible next to each other.
- Pour ½ of water in baking dish around cannelloni so that they are at least half-way surrounded by water.
- Pour béchamel sauce on top of cannelloni, and spread sauce to cover the whole dish. Add shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) on top and bake in preheated oven for approximately 28-35 minutes until the pasta is tender and the top is golden-brown.Make sure to check your pasta half-way through baking. Add some water if it starts to dry out. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.