- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 pound ground veal
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for garnishing pasta
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 recipe basic pasta dough, recipe follows
- 1 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 1 cup besciamella, recipe follows
In a large skillet, heat the butter over high heat until it foams and subsides. Add the ground pork and veal and cook over high heat until it begins to brown in its own fat. Drain the excess fat and add the Parmigiano, the flour and the milk and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir in the egg. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll the pasta out to the thinnest setting on a pasta rolling machine and cut it into rectangles measuring 4 inches by 6 inches. Divide the meat filling evenly among the rectangles and roll the pasta around the filling, jelly-roll style making 14 to 16 canneloni. Blanch until tender in boiling water. Remove and put in an ice water bath. In an 8 or 9-inch square, oven-proof casserole, spoon half the tomato sauce across the bottom in an even layer. Carefully lay each pasta package in the casserole so that they are in a single layer. Top with the remaining tomato sauce, then the bechamel. Finish with the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauces and cheese are bubbling and the edges of the pasta are crispy and browned. Serve immediately from the cooking dish.
Basic Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
- Salt, to taste
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups
Basic Pasta Dough:
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and the olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.
As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.
Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly reflour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll or shape as desired.
Beciamela (Bechamel Sauce):
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, heat butter until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until light golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat milk in separate pan until just about to boil. Add milk to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes and remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.
Yield: 3 cups