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A close up photo of cannelloni on a white plate.


The comfort food dish that may be able to top lasagna. Definitely, a dish that isn't cooked often enough.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French, Italian
Keyword beef cannelloni, best cannelloni recipe, cannelloni recipe
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 405 kcal
Author Nicolas


Bechamel sauce

  • 550 ml of milk
  • 35 g of flour
  • 35 g of butter
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Tomato sauce

  • Olive oil
  • Half an onion chopped finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped finely chopped
  • A couple of thyme sprigs
  • 750 g of tinned tomatoes
  • Salt pepper and sugar for seasoning

Cannelloni and the filling

  • 200 g of cannelloni tubes
  • 500 g of minced beef
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • Half an onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh basil shredded
  • 100 g of fresh spinach
  • 250 ml of cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Parmesan cheese grated for topping
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese for topping
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. First, Get a pot nice and hot (rhymes) on the stove, then turn the heat off. Add your spinach and stir till all of the spinach has wilted. Transfer to a bowl, wait for the spinach to cool down for a few minutes, then squeeze the liquid out of the wilted leaves. Set aside, clean the pot and get it ready for the bechamel sauce.

Bechamel sauce:

  1. Get a pot on medium heat then add your butter. Once the butter has melted add the flour and mix through till you get a paste-like consistency.
  2. Add the milk bit by bit stirring through on each occasion.
  3. Once all the milk is added and stirred through, simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring every 2-3 minutes.

Tomato Sauce:

  1. Get a pot on medium heat and start frying off your onions, garlic and thyme leaves until they are translucent.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and use your spoon to break up the whole tomatoes while stirring.
  3. Simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally then season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Cannelloni filling:

  1. Get a bot or large pan on a medium heat.
  2. Add a dash of olive oil then start frying your onions and garlic until translucent.
  3. Next, add your minced beef and use your spoon to break up all the chunks so you don't end up with meatballs.
  4. Once the beef has been browned nicely add the tomato paste, spinach, cream and 3 quarters of the shredded basil. Mix well and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat off and wait just a few minutes for the mixture to cool down before you stir the egg yolks through so that they won't scramble.

  6. Season with salt and pepper to finish off the mixture.


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Get a deep baking tray and start by filling it with half of your tomato sauce.
  3. Next, use a piping bag or if you don't have one just use a teaspoon to fill your cannelloni tubes with the minced meat (pro tip: stand your cannelloni tubes up when filling them, I see many people trying to fill it while laying the tubes down).

  4. Place your tubes neatly in the tray on top of the tomato sauce, then add the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Ensure that all of the cannelloni tubes are covered with that sauce so that it all gets a nice even cooking when placed in the oven.
  5. Place your bechamel sauce on top for the next layer then spread evenly.
  6. Finally, sprinkle your parmesan, mozzarella and the rest of the basil over the top.
  7. Place in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until the cheese goes beautifully golden on top.
  8. Serve with some simply dressed salad leaves or some steamed veg and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • If you're feeling lazy, you can use store-bought bechamel sauce and passata for the tomato sauce. However, I do encourage you to try making this from scratch if you can. 
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 405 Calories from Fat 193
% Daily Value*
Fat 21.4g33%
Saturated Fat 10.8g68%
Cholesterol 178mg59%
Sodium 257mg11%
Potassium 746mg21%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 2.6g11%
Sugar 9.6g11%
Protein 28.9g58%
Calcium 170mg17%
Iron 14.9mg83%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.