Home > Mains, Recipe > Pork and Parmesan Cannelloni

Pork and Parmesan Cannelloni

One of my all time favourite meals is my home made lasagne, so it’s perhaps a little surprising I’d never made cannelloni. When I came across this in June’s Sainsbury’s Magazine, I thought it sounded great, and was sufficiently different from my usual lasagne so definitely worth a try. This uses pork, not my usual beef, and the richness is balanced a little by using creme fraiche instead of full-on bechamel, albeit laced with cheese. The ingredients list is quite long, and since this needs making in parts and then assembly, it’s quite time consuming, although not particularly difficult, but stick with it, the results are worth it. And I suspect you could make the meat filling and tomato sauce the day before, keep in the fridge, and do the assembly job the next day if you so wished. I’ve fiddled with the original topping slightly, mostly because I found there wasn’t enough of it, but otherwise this is fairly faithful to the original.

This is quite filling, and the serving suggestion is a green salad (what else?) on the side, but for comforting baked pasta dishes I tend to want more carbs than is sensible at one sitting, with lasagne that means chips, and here I was planning to make potato wedges, but I got some really nice, huge potatoes from the market, so everyone got a massive jacket potato, dripping with butter, instead.

Pork and Parmesan Cannelloni (serves 4)

For the meat filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 60g breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 250g pack fresh egg lasagne sheets (from the chiller, not the dried ones) (6 sheets in mine, btw)
  • 1 egg
  • 50g parmesan, grated

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (I used the mini-chopper for the onion and red pepper, which does finely chop, but also gives you a bit of a mush – this is fine here)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 600ml passata
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

For the topping

  • 200ml creme fraiche
  • 125g mozarella, sliced
  • 50g parmesan, grated

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

First, make the meat filling. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the mince, onion and garlic for about 10 minutes until the mince is browned and the onion soft. Add the tomato puree, breadcrumbs and oregano, and give everything a good mix. Season well. Leave to cool while you get on with the next bit.

If you need to cook your lasagne sheets, follow the pack instructions. Mine only had oven cooking instructions, but I soaked them in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes anyway. This made them much more pliable, especially helpful as I had frozen and re-thawed them, and they appeared to have dried a little. Anyhow, I’d recommend you soak them even if not frozen. Drain well, but handle them carefully, they’ll try and stick to each other, and may split easily.

Next, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and fry the onion, garlic and red pepper for about 5 minutes, until nice and soft. Pour over the passata, then add the oregano, sugar and vinegar, and stir well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Next comes the assembly job.  Stir the egg and parmesan into the meat filling, and then divide the mixture into six portions. Place a portion at the short end of a lasagne sheet, by hand or by spoon, roll it up, and place it in a baking dish. The recommended size is about 20 x 30 cm, but basically you want it big enough to place in the six rolls with a gap around each. Repeat this with the other 5 lasagne sheets. Pour the tomato sauce over the whole lot.

Blob the creme fraiche over the top with a spoon, and then spread it out gently with a spatula, trying not to push it into the tomato sauce too much. Arrange the mozarella on top of this, and then sprinkle with the parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and delicious looking.

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