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April 9, 2008

Cannelloni

Lately, my husband and I have been ordering Cannelloni when we go to Italian places for dinner. Primarily because he LOVES my/his mothers manicotti and we make manicotti more like a traditional cannelloni - with meat rather than cheese. While I LOVE cheese, I'm not a huge fan of stuffed or layered pastas with a lot of Ricotta so I prefer meat stuffed pastas.

Over the weekend I made (in my opinion) an Excellent Cannelloni. It wasn't good for the waistline but that is where portion control comes in helpful!

Cannelloni (for 2 -3 and a little leftover maybe!)
(this is a combo of my MILs manicotti and a lot of cannelloni recipes I looked up so I can't really site anything since it's a hidgepodge!)

Ingredients
6-8 Manicotti Tubes (I would have used Cannelloni but long story short, I couldn't make it to my Italian market)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup Italian style shredded cheese (whatever you prefer, mozzarella, provolone, mix, etc.)
small palmful of Italian Season breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic (chopped)
Drizzle of EVOO
~3 cups marinara sauce (homemade, jar, whatever... I used a bottle of Ragu this time)
~ 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
a small shake of dried basil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warmish milk
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions
- preheat oven to 350
- boil manicotti tubes in large pot of water until al dente, drain and allow to cool for easier handling
- meanwhile brown beef in large skillet and drain
(I moved the drained meat to a bowl to free up the skillet and cool for a little bit for the sauce but if you have more pots than me, keep it in if you want!)
- while beef is cooling heat some EVOO in skillet and cook garlic for a few minutes
- add sauce and herbs to garlic and simmer on low heat
- throw about 1/4 pound ground beef in sauce to make a meat sauce
- once beef has cooled a little, mix in Italian cheese and breadcrumbs to make a filling
- while marinara is simmering, make the cheese/cream sauce:
- melt butter in sauce pan
- stir in flour to melted butter and cook for a minute or two
- take roux off heat and slowly whisk in the warm milk
- return to low heat and let simmer/reduce for a few minutes (while stuffing noodles)
- add parmesan to white sauce and stir well to melt cheese
- meanwhile, stuff meat mixture in shells and layer in casserole dish
- top with meatsauce then top with cheese sauce
- bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly

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