CLASSIC pasta cannelloni Rossini








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The genius of Italian opera composers, Rossini, was also a great lover of wonderful Italian food. Here is the cannelloni version named after him, and certainly as delightful an aria on the cannelloni theme as one could find. It involves a tomato sauce, a meat filling, and  bechamel.

for the filling:

  • two cloves garlic
  • three tablespoons olive oil
  • one-half onion chopped fine
  • six ounces of ground veal
  • six ounces of ground pork
  • six ounces of boned, skinless chicken thighs, minced
  • one chicken liver (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

for the tomato sauce:

  • one medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • four tablespoons of butter
  • one 28-ounce can of imported peeled Italian tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  • béchamel sauce

and also:

  • one quarter cup freshly grated parmesan
  • two tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces

Prepare the tomato sauce: melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Add the quartered onion. Add two teaspoons of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Simmer, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, constantly pressing the tomatoes to pulverize them, for about thirty minutes. The tomatoes should have melded into a fairly thick sauce.

Prepare the béchamel.

For the filling: Heat the oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft but not brown -- about five minutes. If using the chopped chicken livers, add them now and mash them with the wooden spoon. Add the chicken, veal and pork. Add a teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cook for about ten minutes, until the meat, noting especially the pork, is cooked through. While cooking, stir and smash regularly, getting as fine a texture as possible.

Add one-half cup of the bechamel to the filling and set aside.

See how to make cannelloni. Butter the bottom of the dish well. Add about one cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, spread evenly.

Put two tablespoons of the filling in each square 5" x 5" wrapper of pasta. Roll up. Put in baking dish seamed side down.

Use all the filling; or do all the cannelloni you need to do to fill the baking dish. Cover the cannelloni with the remaining tomato sauce, and then the remaining bechamel sauce. Top with the parmesan and the dots of butter.

Cover loosely with foil, and bake at 375 degrees for twenty minutes to thirty minutes. The cannelloni should start to have a brownish crust on top.





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