Kait’s Recipe: Meat Lovers Cannelloni

I will always love meat.

Don’t get me wrong, readers. I understand the Vegetarian point of view: cute bunny gets dropped by its ears into a pot of stew, as per every evil witch depicted in children’s books. I realize it is more complex than that, but that’s not the reason for this post.

Here’s my view: live & let live. Don’t like meat? Don’t eat it.

And so follows my gift to those who will devour meat with me.

Ingredients:
  • 1 handful spinach leaves, chopped
  • 4 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 box oven ready Cannelloni shells (you will have some left over)
  • 1 small can less-sodium tomato sauce
  • 3 cups milk – I use 1%
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp light margarine
  • Salt & Pepper, 1tbsp each
  • Oregano, 1 tbsp

Begin by mixing the 3 meats together, and add to a frying pan with garlic and all vegetables. Brown slowly over medium-low heat, stirring often. You do not want the meat to cook unevenly.

ImageWhile your meat is cooking, start your roux.

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Heat margarine over medium-low, then add flour. Whisk thoroughly, and add a bit of milk. Continue whisking. You should develop a thick paste.

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Slowly add balance of milk, stirring constantly. Once you have developed a soup-like consistency, bring the sauce up to just below a boil. At this time you can add your seasonings, and whisk. Turn off heat, and add the can of tomato sauce, reserving 3 tablespoons. Whisk thoroughly, then cover your saucepan and remove from burner. Congratulations, you have now made a Rose Bechamel. This sauce is fine to sit for a few minutes while you assemble your cannelloni.

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I prefer to use oven ready cannelloni noodles because it removes a step from an already involved cooking process. Preheat your oven to 350 and mix some (1/2 cup) of the rose bechamel sauce into your meat mixture, after draining excess fat from pan.

Use your reserved tomato sauce to lightly cover the bottom of your casserole dish. Begin assembling your cannelloni. The best method I have found to pack the meat mixture into the shells is to use my fingers, but you can also try using the end of a spoon.

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You have meat leftover. This is good. Very, very good. Add the balance of your bechamel sauce to your meat mixture and stir.

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Pour it over your cannelloni. Go on, do it. I sprinkle salt and (lots of) pepper over top. Make sure that there are no pasta shells visible, or they will not soften properly.

After 50 minutes, take it out of the oven.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Happy Eating,

kait

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Bolognese Sauce – Made With Love

Bolognese Sauce – Made With Love

I am a sucker for Italian inspired sauces, so much so that I spent the weekend researching different regions of Italy and the classic dishes that originated there.

Now, the following recipe does not stick to the traditional crafting of a Bolognese sauce, originating in the 19th century. In my humble opinion, the biggest favor Bolognese sauce did for the world was allow itself to be adaptable.

Mary Beth Clark has gone so far as to say that there are as many variations of Bolognese sauce as there are tomato sauce and pizza. This is my favorite preparation, and such a reward to taste once completed.

Make this dish for friends and family, raise a glass to flavor, and enjoy.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 3 hot Italian Sausages, casings removed
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c skim milk (or whatever milk is on hand)
  • 1 c red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil (or enough to cover bottom of saucepan)
  • 1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp each – dried oregano, dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp rosemary

Method:

  • Chop onion, grate carrots
  • Combine sausage and beef with hands in bowl, not over mixing, then heat over medium in a large sautee pan
  • While meat cooks, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add grated carrots and onion to the saucepan, stir, and let soften
  • Once the meat is halfway cooked, add it to the saucepan
  • Add crushed tomatoes, once can has been drained of excess liquid
  • Add the red wine, and stir
  • Drink some red wine (what?)
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, milk, and all seasonings, then stir
  • Bring the heat up to just past medium for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally
  • Boil salted water and add your choice of pasta. Tagliatelle is best, but penne, rigatoni, papardelle, and fettuccine would also work.

The longer you allow the sauce to simmer, the more the flavors will intensify. Serve with garlic bread, salad, and red wine.

Happy Eating,

kait