Homemade Italian cannelloni

    4 hours

    This is a recipe how to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch. It requires time but you can easily spread the preparation over 2 days (one for bechamel, tomato sauce and pasta dough, the other for assembling and baking). Or, to skip a step, use store bought cannelloni.

    20 people made this

    Serves: 10 

    • For the bechamel sauce
    • 50g butter
    • 50g plain flour
    • 600ml milk
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • For the tomato sauce
    • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 (800g) San Marzano tomatoes
    • 3 to 4 basil leaves
    • salt, to taste
    • For the filling
    • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
    • 1 carrot, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 50g pancetta, cubed
    • 400g beef mince
    • 400g pork mince
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 100ml white wine
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    • For the homemade pasta
    • 500g durum semolina flour
    • 200g water, as needed

    Prep:2hr  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Extra time:1hr resting  ›  Ready in:4hr 


    1. Melt butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir vigorously with a whisk to prevent lumps. Pour in the milk and cook over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir occasionally with a whisk to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove sauce from heat and set to the side.
    2. Tomato sauce

    3. Cook the onion in oil on low heat until soft. Add the tomatoes and gently crush them with the back of a spoon. Add basil, season with salt, cover and cook until thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove basil and set to the side.
    4. Filling

    5. In a saucepan on medium heat cook onion and carrot in oil until softened. Add pancetta, stir and cook until lightly browned. Add the mince, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high heat stirring often until the meat is all evenly browned, for about 20 minutes. Halfway through, pour in the wine. At the end, adjust seasoning, remove from heat and let cool.
    6. Transfer the meat to a bowl, add eggs, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, 1 ladle bechamel sauce and 1 ladle tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until using.
    7. Pasta

    8. Place the flour on a floured working surface and add the water a little at the time, mixing it with the flour to make a sticky dough. Knead until smoooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Wrap in cling film and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
    9. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Flatten the first portion and pass through the largest setting of the pasta machine. Dust with more flour, fold in half like a book and repeat 3 to 4 times - always flouring, folding and passing through the largest setting - until the dough is smooth in texture, even in size and no longer sticky.
    10. Change to a medium setting and pass each sheet through once. Change to the second to last setting and pass through the machine once.
    11. Transfer to a clean floured towel and cut the dough into 10x15cm pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.
    12. Filling and baking

    13. Bring to the boil a large pot with salted water. Add 4 to 5 pasta sheets, cook for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and run under cold tap water. Transfer on a clean towel and pat dry. Proceed the same way with all the pasta sheets.
    14. Preheat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Spread 1 ladle of bechamel and 1 ladle of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 20X30cm baking pan.
    15. Fill each pasta sheet with 2 tablespoons of meat filling, roll it up and place in the baking pan, seam down. Place the rolls close to each other. After you have filled the pan with one layer, cover with half of the bechamel, half of the tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan. Add a second layer of cannelloni and proceed the same way.
    16. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Transfer to the top rack during the last 5 minutes to brown the top.
    17. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving.


    To save some time and work, you can roll out the dough thinner, about 3mm, up to the next to the last setting of the pasta machine. This way, you won't need to blanch the dough before filling. Be careful, because the dough will be really thin and rip easily.
    You can prepare the cannelloni up to 2 days in advance, refrigerate and reheat in the oven for 10 minutes before serving. They are also great to freeze.

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