Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Rich Beef Cannelloni with Fontina Sauce

This was the celebration dinner I made for my beautiful brown-eyed son who turned 11 years old today... which means I'm getting older... And yes, it's all about ME!

Rich Beef Cannelloni with Fontina Sauce
adapted from Donna Hay
Serves 4

For the Cannelloni:
1 tablespoons olive oil
500g ground beef
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, roughly chopped
100g pancetta, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
300ml tomato passata
500ml beef stock
250g fresh pasta sheets cut to size - about 10cm x 15cm (I made my own - recipe here, or use store-bought)

For the Fontina Sauce:
60g unsalted butter
35g plain flour
500ml milk
180g fontina, rind removed and chopped
80g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 of a whole nutmeg, freshly grated
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper

Make the Cannelloni Sauce:
Put the onion and pancetta into a food processor and blitz until it is a fine much.

Put the olive oil into a large casserole or Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and pancetta mush and fry for about 3 minutes until softened but not brown. Season lightly and add the meat. Cook until all of the watery juices have evaporated and it starts to crackle and fry. It should start to crisp in places. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until the wine disappears. Add the tomato passata and beef stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to simmer and clamp a tight fitting lid on it. Now simmer the sauce on the lowest flame you have for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. The sauce should go a deep red colour and there should be a layer of oil on top.

Pour the sauce into a sieve to separate the meat from the juices, reserve the juices. Put the meat into a bowl and set it aside to cool a little. Put the juices back into the pan and boil it over a medium heat until it reduces down to about 1 1/2  - 2 cups. Set aside.

Make the Fontina Sauce:
Put the butter into a medium saucepan and set it over a medium flame. When the butter had melted, add the flour and whisk it in. Cook it for 1 minute then gradually add the milk, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat and add both cheeses. Whisk them in and season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg. Set aside.

Assemble the Dish:
Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Spread 1/4 cup of the beef filling in the centre of each pasta sheet and roll to enclose. Pour half of the cooking juices into a 22cm x 34cm baking pan. Top with the cannelloni and pour over the remaining cooking juices. Spoon over the fontina sauce and  sprinkle with a little extra parmesan. Bake for 20 25 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling.


  1. I look at your crazy beautiful pictures and my stomach gives me a sign that I'm hungry. It's incredible how good it looks!!

    1. Thank you Gabrielle. Your photos do the same to me.

  2. Happy birthday to your son!
    I think you may have just invented Chris's dream food. This one will have to go on our table in winter, and I will definitely have to make my own pasta!

    1. Thanks from Joey. This is more man-food from me. I think I've been somewhat influenced by the company I keep.

  3. Happy Birthday (belated to your son!) That is one heck of a dinner.. I'm craving homemade pasta suddenly. Think I'll have to give this one a go. Looks so, so good..

    1. Thanks Maria. It was very well received by the Birthday boy.

  4. This is my all time favorite this. thanks for sharing this recipe, seems quite simple to make.