Meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce are one of those recipes that everyone likes: there are enjoyed by the smallest, but also by the oldest. In each house them are cooked in a similar way, but each family adds their personal touch, making it an unique and special dish with which to gather the whole family around the table.
Cannelloni are one of my favorite dishes, although I don’t cook them as often as I would like. They are like croquettes: delicious if them are homemade, nevertheless they require some time and we can’t cook them whenever we would like. The solution is to freeze them, so when you cook it you will only have to do a few more to enjoy them whenever you want. I will tell you below how and when to freeze meat cannelloni.
This is step by step our family cannelloni recipe, used by my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and, of course, by me. I hope you enjoy it.
Ingredients for traditional meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce (serves 6 or 30 canelloni):
- 500 g minced meat (pork + beef)
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 125 g pâté
- 30 sheets of pasta for cannelloni
- Olive oil
- Homemade bechamel sauce
- Grated cheese
How to make meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce:
Chop the onion and garlic cloves finely and cook them in a hot skilled with a squirt of olive oil. When the onion is tender, add the minced meat and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is ready. Remove from the heat, add the pâté and mix well.
At this moment we have two options: we can leave the filling as we have it or we can grind the cooked meat a little (just enough to undo the larger pieces of meat) with a hand blender to have a softer filling. Let it temper.
It is time to cook the pasta. Then drain, separate and distribute the sheets of pasta on a clean and dry cotton cloth or on the countertop of our kitchen greased with a little olive oil. Let cool.
Cook the bechamel sauce: recipe here.
To fill the cannelloni, we will take a sheet of pasta with the hand (as you can see in the image) and add a quantity of meat that allows us to close the cannelloni well, we don’t want it to open during baking. Close and place it in the baking dish, so that the fold is under the cannelloni.
Place them one next to the other and cover with bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
How and when to freeze meat cannelloni:
We have two equally valid options, freeze them with bechamel sauce or without:
Freeze cannelloni without sauce
Once we have the sheet of pasta stuffed with the meat, we put them separated from each other on a tray covered with baking paper, and freeze all night. Baking paper will help keep the cannelloni from sticking to the tray.
After this time, put all the cannelloni together in a freezer bag. When we want to cook it, we will only have to place the cannelloni side by side in a baking dish and cover them with bechamel sauce and grated cheese to taste. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and put in the preheated oven about 10 minutes to thaw, uncover and bake about 20 minutes.
Freeze meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce
To freeze them in this way will be necessary to buy disposable foil pans. Once we have the cannelloni formed we will put them next to each other in the disposable foil pan and cover them with bechamel sauce. Freeze until the moment of baking.
To cooking them, sprinkle grated cheese to the taste, cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until they have thawed, in that moment uncover and bake 20 minutes.
Taste it and share your foodie experience!