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Cannelloni Recipe with Ground Veal and Spinach

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Feel free to substitute ground turkey or extra lean ground beef in this recipe. Serve this tasty dish with a tossed salad and crusty rolls or Italian bread slices.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ozs. cannelloni pasta, about 10 tubes
  • 8 ozs. ground veal
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (10 ounce package), thawed, excess moisture squeezed out
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dry Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Fresh Tomato Sauce (below)

Preparation:

Cook cannelloni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large baking dish, crumble veal and toss with carrots, celery, onion and spinach. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and wine. Mix well.

Place in hot oven and bake until veal is brown and vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes. If meat smokes, lower oven temperature to 400°. Stir frequently.

Cool 15 minutes. Place meat mixture in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add cream, the plum tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, dry herbs and basil. Stir and return to oven for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Stuff each cannelloni shell with 2 to 3 tablespoons of meat mixture. Place in clean lightly greased or sprayed baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350°. Pour tomato sauce over cannelloni and bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Makes four to five servings.

Fresh Tomato Sauce: Place 1 can (about 15 ounces) tomatoes and their juice in food processor; process until smooth.

Heat 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 cup chopped onion; cook until soft. Add the processed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until liquid is no longer watery. Add four chopped fresh basil leaves or a little dried leaf basil, and cook 1 minute longer.

Serves: 4
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