When I’m entertaining, I often like to create a baked pasta for our first course as I can prepare it ahead of time and simply pop it into the oven once the guests arrive, leaving my time free to concentrate on my guests and other courses. My two favorite baked pasta dishes are lasagna and cannelloni and both offer so many variations that you could never get tired of making them. I recently was craving mushrooms so decided to create a cannelloni dish with a ground veal and sauteed porcini mushrooms filling, topped with a béchamel sauce that I flavored with a little porcini powder. I bought my porcini powder at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor Michigan, but you can also simply make your own by grinding dried porcini mushrooms in a blender or food processor until it is finely ground. I used frozen porcini mushrooms in my version as fresh porcini are difficult for us to find here in Umbria. Feel free to use your own choice of mushrooms or a mixed wild mushroom blend would also be delicious.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1 Recipe Egg Pasta
- 1 Pound Ground Veal
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Diced
- 1 Pound Chopped Mushrooms (Porcini, Portabello, or Your Favorite Mix)
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
- 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
Mushroom Béchamel Sauce:
- 3 Cups Whole Milk
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Porcini Powder (See Note Above)
- To make the béchamel, melt the butter over medium heat, and when foaming, add the flour and stir briskly with a whisk or spoon.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, then slowly add the milk and porcini powder, whisking continuously.
- Cook for about 3-4 minutes more, until it is of medium-thick consistency, similar to a runny pudding or yogurt.
- Remove from heat and set aside. Makes about 3 cups.
- To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the meat until it is no longer pink.
- Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and continue to cook until the veal, onions and mushrooms begun to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook over medium heat until it has been absorbed.
- Place the veal and mushroom mixture into a bowl to cool.
- Add the ricotta cheese, fresh chopped thyme, and parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the egg pasta, and cut into 8 four and a half inch squares.
- Cook the pasta sheets in boiling water for just 1 minute, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place about 1/3 cup filling into the center of each pasta sheet, and roll up into a cylinder.
- Once all sheets are filled, place about 1 cup of the béchamel on the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch pan, and then lay the cannelloni’s on top of this.
- Spread the remaining béchamel on top, then sprinkle with the grated cheese.
- Bake until bubbling and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
- Carefully remove the cannelloni, two to a plate, and serve hot.