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Antonina’s cannelloni with braised meat

Meaty cannelloni is a staple dish at special occasions in Italy. This recipe includes veal mince, mozzarella and a rich tomato sauce. Serve as a delicious alternative to lasagne or ragù.

SERVES: 6

PREPARATION: 1hr

COOKING: 1hr 20MIN

SKILL LEVEL: MID

 

Ingredients

  • Pasta dough
  • 2 cups (300 g) type ‘00’ flour
  • 3eggs
  • Meat filling
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1onion, finely chopped
  • 600 g veal mince
  • salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • 350 g scamorza (see Note) or aged mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150 g freshly grated parmigiano
  • Tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1onion, finely chopped
  • 1carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • ¼ red or green capsicum (pepper), in 1 piece
  • 2 x 400 gtins tomatoes or 800 ml passata
  • salt flakes

Instructions

  • Chilling time 30 minutes
  • Cooling time 10 minutes
  1. To make the pasta, place the flour on a wooden board, make a well in the centre and drop in the eggs and salt. Mix together using your fingers or a fork, then knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. At first it will look crumbly, but once your body heat activates the starch in the flour the dough will change its texture, transforming into a smooth, firm ball. (If you want to speed things up you can mix the dough ingredients in a food processor until they resemble wet sand, then tip onto a floured board, bring together with your hands and knead for 1 minute.) Wrap the dough in plastic film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the mince and cook for 15–20 minutes or until most of the water it releases has evaporated and the meat is cooked through, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper, then leave to cool for 10 minutes. Add the scamorza or mozzarella, egg and half the parmigiano, mix well and set aside to cool. You can make this up to a day ahead and rest it the fridge, covered in plastic film.
  3. To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion, carrot, celery and capsicum and cook for 2– 3 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes or passata and a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cut the pasta dough into quarters. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest wrapped in plastic film to prevent it from drying out. Flatten the piece of dough with the palm of your hand, then pass it through the pasta machine’s widest setting three or four times, folding the dough into three each time. Continue passing the dough, each time through a thinner setting, until you get to the second-last setting or the sheet is roughly 3 mm thick. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin and a lot of elbow grease.
  5. Cut the pasta into 12 cm x 10 cm rectangles and blanch them in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Set aside to drain on clean tea towels without overlapping them. Place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle of each rectangle and roll them up into cigar shapes to enclose the filling.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and grease a 45 cm x 30 cm baking dish.
  7. Spread a ladle of tomato sauce over the base and arrange all the cannelloni on top in a single layer, seam-side down. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parmigiano. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden and irresistible.

 

Note

  • Scamorza is a cow’s milk cheese similar to mozzarella. The warm cheese paste is spun and shaped like a ball, then tied and hung in a pear shape. It is left to dry and it is often smoked. Scamorza has a more robust flavour than fresh mozzarella and may be enjoyed sliced, grilled or as a wonderful filling for toasted panini.

 

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.