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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Cannelloni Bianchi

A delicious, sumptuous feast for a special occasion (or a big fat dinner)

Dishes like lasagne and cannelloni tend to be reserved for special occasions in Italy, but if you've the time and the appetite - or a freezer - this would do for any dinner or lunch.

It isn't a traditional recipe, but it's a belter. You can buy dried cannelloni tubes if you'd prefer, but I find getting the mixture into them is akin to surgery, and really too much of a faff. Fresh lasagne sheets (which, ironically I'd never use for lasagne) are ideal for rolling up into tubes.






sage leaves

marsala - sweet sherry would do or even port

minced chicken or turkey - I'm using beef. You could use pork, lamb or whatever you have

Italian sausage - the better the sausage, the better the dish

salami - I had salami di Milano, but any decent cured salami will add a bit of spice

basil leaves


white wine

chicken stock






parmesan or hard pecorino


garlic salt

sheets of fresh lasagne



Watch the video


  • Clean, top and tail the fennel and carrot

  • Slice them finely and finely chop the garlic

  • Thickly slice the mushrooms

  • Chop up the sage leaves

  • Slice the sausage and salami

  • Heat up some olive oil in a pan

  • Put in the fennel, carrot and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes

  • Add sage and a pinch of salt

  • Pour in a good splash of Marsala

  • A good stir and cook for 10 - 15 minutes

  • Add the meats, mushrooms and basil and stir it all through thoroughly - this will also deglaze the pan

  • A glass of white wine (in the pan, not in you)

  • Add about 700ml stock, a grind of pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes

  • Add a tub of ricotta and stir it in

  • Cook it all down for about 20 minutes

  • Meanwhile...

  • We're making a white sauce. We've done this before - the only difference being we're using some stock in this too (it doesn't have to be milk)

  • A tablespoon of butter, melt it down and add the same amount of flour

  • Whisk them together and make sure all the flour is incorporated - otherwise it's not pleasant

  • A splash of milk, and whisk it till it becomes a paste - this is a roux

  • Keep adding small amounts of milk and whisking

  • When you've got a nice, smooth, thick sauce - albeit a small amount - start adding stock the same way: small amounts and whisk it through

  • As you add more, you can start adding greater quantities

  • Add nutmeg, garlic salt and pepper

  • Cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes - keeping an eye on it and giving it the occasional stir with a wooden spoon

  • Add a good handful of grated Parmesan or Pecorino, and let the sauce continue to cook - slowly - while you...

  • Lay out sheets of lasagne

  • Spoon the mince & sausage mix from your pan onto a sheet - maybe 2 spoonfuls; if you overdo it you'll have a whale of a time rolling up the pasta

  • Make the cannelloni rolls and lay them along a greased ovenproof dish

  • If you do a second layer, oil the first layer

  • Pour the sauce over the pasta rolls - it shouldn't be a gloopy thick sauce - that would split in the oven. "Silky" is the best description

  • Layer slices of mozzarella over the cannelloni

  • Grate parmesan or Pecorino (or a mix) over the top and dust with nutmeg and pepper

  • In the oven for 30 minutes at 180ºC

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