Cannelloni are best made using homemade pasta. It takes a little time and patience, but is worth the effort. Topped with a tasty tomato sauce and parmesan and then baked, this dish is irresistible. It has a simple veal filling, with pieces of mortadella adding wonderful flavour as well as texture. Recipe from RECIPES FROM MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN, by Guy Grossi and photography by Sharyn Cairns, published by Lantern, rrp$49.95.
1 quantity Fresh Pasta, cut into 12 cm squares
1.5 litres Passata
grated parmesan, to serve
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
1.25 kg minced veal
250 g mortadella, chopped
4 slices (150 g) bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (250 ml) Chicken Stock
1/2 cup (40 g) grated parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté for 2–3 minutes or until tender. Add the veal and cook for 10 minutes or until browned, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the mortadella, bread, sage and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Pour in the stock and stir to remove any caught pieces on the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over low heat for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the veal mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the egg and parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. Let the mixture cool completely. It should be firm but moist.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Have ready a large bowl of cold water with a splash of olive oil in it. Cook the pasta sheets in batches in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then lift out and refresh in the cold water. Transfer the pasta to your workbench. Spoon 3 tablespoonfuls of the veal mixture onto each pasta square and roll to enclose.
Spread 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the passata in a large baking dish and place the cannelloni on top, seam-side down and side by side, filling the dish. Top with the remaining passata and sprinkle with parmesan to taste. Bake for 20–30 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.