Cannelloni Florentine

(from maggiwun’s recipe box)

I’ve been making this most of my adult life. The recipe came out of the Italian Time Life Foods of the World series. It is supposedly an authentic northern recipe and uses homemade pasta. I use the dry cannelloni noodles. Buy more than you need and boil them gently. Some of them will break when you are filling them, so you will need extras. You can omit the chicken livers, but they do add a nice touch and no one will know they are there. This has been one of my tried and true dinner party hits. Like other pasta recipes it can be made in advance and put in the oven a couple hours before. This is rich, so most won’t have more than two cannelloni, when served with salad and rolls as part of a dinner party.

Source: Time Life Foods of the World - Italy

Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 6 people

Categories: Entree Pasta Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 box Cannelloni (large tube) Pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 ten ounce pkg frozen chopped spinach, (thawed, drained, squeezed completely dry and re-chopped)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground round, finely ground
  • 2 whole chicken livers (optional)
  • 5 tbsp freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Besciamella:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4tbsp flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated imported parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut in tiny pieces

Directions

  1. Filling:

  2. Heat the olive oil, add onions and garlic, stir until soft but not brown. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring constantly for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. In the same pan melt 1 tbsp of butter and lightly brown the ground meat, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Add the meat to the bowl. Melt one more tbsp butter and saute the chicken livers for 3 or 4 minutes until firm, lightly browned but still pink inside. Chop them coarsely and add them to the bown along with 5 tbsp grated Parmesan, 2 t bsp cream, the eggs and oregano. Mix gently but thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Besciamella: In a heavy saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter. Do not allow to brown. Remove from heat and stir in 4 tbsp flour. Pour in the milk and cream all at once, whisking constantly until the flour in blended. Return the pan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and continue stirring until thick enough to coat the wires of the whisk heavily. Remove from heat and season with salt and white pepper.

  4. ly: Cook the pasta according to directions on the box. Drain and lay side by side on wax paper or paper towels. Handle gently, because they tend to break. Preheat oven to 375. Coat the bottom of a 10 by 14 baking dish with some pasta sauce. Fill the tubes with the meat mixture and lay side-by-side in the baking dish. Pour besciamella (white sauce) over the pasta evenly. Spoon the pasta sauce over the white sauce. Scatter on 4 tbsp of grated cheese and dot with 2 tbsp of butter. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Slide the baking dish under a hot broiler for 30 seconds to brown the top, watching carefully so as not to burn.

  5. the pasta can be cooked, spread between 2 layers of wax paper and refrigerated for a day or 2.

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