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Baked Cannelloni

April 2, 2010

This dish tastes much much much better than it looks. I thought I should just say that right up front, to keep you reading even though the pictures for this post aren’t all that preeetteee….

We had some good friends from the US over for dinner some nights back, and I felt inspired to attempt this dish for the second time. I found the recipe on a little while ago, and the first time I tried it I absolutely loved it. But until tonight I hadn’t taken a second swing at it because:

1) The dish takes AGES to make. The original recipe says it’s ready in 1hr 5mins, and that may be true, if you’re Gordon Ramsay. But if not, then I would say set aside a generous two hours at the very least. I think it’s a similar process to making lasgne, except it’s more difficult stuffing cannelloni than layering lasagne sheets.

2) It is a monumental task trying to locate cannelloni in Singapore. Cannelloni is a large 4-inch long cylindrical pasta. I haven’t seen it at Cold Storage, or ThreeSixty Marketplace, or Jones. In fact the first time I made this dish I ended up using conchiglioni (the one that looks like a giant seashell). I figured any pasta you could stuff would work. Here are some pictures of cannelloni and conchiglioni, from an italian website.

So one day many months ago, when I finally chanced upon some cannelloni (I honestly cannot remember where… oops… maybe Fairprice Finest or Culina), I bought two boxes in anticipation of the day when I would try this recipe again.

And I’m glad I did! It was fun (albeit tiring) working with the cannelloni tonight. And this dish really does taste fabulous. The meat filling is delightful – the herbs and meat and mozzarella interacting to give a rich, full-bodied and spicy flavour. I think even the Italians would approve!

You could just make the filling by itself and eat it on its own or with some plain Ragout. Still delish, and you wouldn’t have to worry about procuring the cannelloni, or going through the tedious task of stuffing the pasta.

But if you’d like to go through the whole process, here is the full recipe, with some of my own tweaks (and a little section on equipment required because it’s quite involved).

Baked Cannelloni

(Adapted from MARBALET on

Ingredients (serves 6):

Filling Part I (Meat Filling)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 400g lean ground beef & ground pork
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Filling Part II (Bechamel Sauce)

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 300g mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks

Tomato Sauce

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (I used  Hunt’s), with most of the liquid drained away
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 cannelloni pasta shells


  • Large skillet for meat filling
  • Medium saucepan for bechamel sauce
  • Medium saucepan for tomato sauce
  • Large pot and large bowl for pasta
  • 9×13 inch baking dish (Pyrex is good)


1. Meat Filling: Warm oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute ground beef with the onion, sage and rosemary; cook 5-10 mins until meat is evenly browned and crumbly. Add salt and white wine; cook until wine is evaporated. Keep on low heat.

2. Bechamel Sauce: Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until well incorporated. Stir in milk and bring to a slow boil (gradually raise heat, and let mixture boil for a minute or so) until mixture thickens . Stir bechamel sauce into the meat mixture and mix well. Stir in the mozzarella and egg yolks, and allow mozzarella to melt before turning off heat. Set aside.

3. Tomato Sauce: Melt butter over medium-low heat, and saute onion until soft and translucent. Add white wine and let it cook down to evaporate; add tomato,salt and pepper. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 200 degC.

5. Pasta: Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (I used Barilla pasta, and the box said to cook the cannelloni for just 4 minutes and then put in oven for 20 minutes, so I cooked it for just 4 minutes). Remove immediately to a large bowl filled with cold water. Lift pasta out with slotted spoon and arrange on a flat surface.

6. Use a teaspoon to spoon a line of filling into each shell. Start from one end and use your finger to push the filling inside of each shell. Place cannelloni in baking dish and cover with tomato sauce.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until heated through; when finished baking, allow to stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Pictures of some of the ingredients:

Pictures of the bechamel sauce and the pasta shells:

Here are the stuffed shells:
(Cannelloni is very difficult to stuff, so I cheated and made a lengthwise slit all the way down some of them, threw on the filling, then rolled ’em up. Doesn’t really matter once you cover it all up with the sauce anyhow!)

Pour on the sauce, and it’s done. A very heart and satisfying meal.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 3:27 pm

    One of the pictures here look like Italian “Chee Cheong Fun” cos of the stuffings in the hollow pasta! 😀 …I like any tomatoey pasta!

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