Create a warm Italian atmosphere with cannelloni. It is easy with tomatoes from a tin, available at all seasons.
- Heat oil in a pan, and fry the onion over a high heat, moving constantly, until golden brown.
- Reduce heat and add the meat and garlic, if using. Brown the meat for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the tomato, mushrooms, tomato paste, broth, salt, pepper, and other condiments. Cover the pan and simmer very slowly for 30-40 minutes.
- Soak or cook the pasta, as directed on the pack, and leave on cold water until the meat sauce is ready.
- Drain the pasta and divide the meat sauce between the 8 cannelloni, roll them up if using pasta squares, and place them in a heat proof pan.
- Heat the oven to 375º F.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the flour in the butter for 1-2 minutes to make a roux.
- Add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook over a low heat until the sauce thickens.
- Add the grated cheese and cook for 2 minutes more, or until the cheese melts.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the stuffed cannelloni. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Serve warm.
A mix of 2 parts ground beef, 1 part ground pork works well.
Herbs and spices for seasoning depend on personal taste. Oregano or basil work well, but bay leaf also gives a nice taste to the sauce.
For adults only, add a little white wine to the meat and heat for a couple of minutes to evaporate the alcohol before adding the tinned tomatoes.
Substitute cannelloni with 8 savory pancakes. You will need about 1 1/2 cups batter prepared with 4 Tablespoons flour, 1 beaten egg and 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk to make 8 small pancakes.
This recipe can also be made with corn or wheat tortillas, using American cheese and a little chili powder as seasoning.