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Meat Cannelloni with Creamy Tomato Béchamel

When you want to churn out an impressive, completely made-from-scratch Sunday supper, look no further than Meat Cannelloni with Creamy Tomato Béchamel. It’s a labor of love, but 100% worth it. Homemade pasta is encased around a melt-in-your-mouth veal, pork, and chicken filling, covered in tomato sauce, and béchamel – comfort food at its finest. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cannelloni, beef cannelloni, meat cannelloni, manicotti
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12 cannelloni
Calories 341 kcal
Author Nicole


Meat Filling

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 lb ground veal
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken thigh
  • 4 oz tomato paste, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups warm whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Pasta sheets

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Add 2 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add eggs and water to a liquid measuring cup. Whisk to combine. While pulsing the flour, slowly add the egg mixture through the feeding tube. Continue to pulse until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough does not form a ball, add water a teaspoon at a time until it does.

  2. Leave the mixer on for 2-3 minutes with the dough in it. This will help knead it. Remove the ball, lightly dust with flour and knead for another 2-3 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temeparature.

  3. While the dough rests, make the filling, bechamel, and red sauce. Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan along with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook the veggies for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add ground veal, pork, and chicken and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat while it cooks. You don't want it to brown, you just want it be cooked through. Continue to break up the meat with the spoon.

  4. Once the meat has cooked, add 1 tablespoon tomato paste to the mixture along with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 tsp cinnamon. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Transfer mixture to the food processor. Pulse until mixture is very finely ground, it should take about 4-5 pulses. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse once more time to blend.

  5. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to a medium saucepan. Heat to medium. Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in warm milk. Continue to whisk until it's smooth. Return to the heat, and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.

  6. Wipe the saucepan clean you used to make the bechamel. Add remaining tomato paste, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water, garlic powder, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt to sauce pan. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To roll out the pasta: Once the dough has rested, cut it into four different pieces. Take one piece and lightly dust it in flour. Cover the rest of the dough in plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out so it’s thin enough to fit through the pasta maker. Roll the dough through the pasta maker set on its widest setting. Roll the pasta through the pasta maker again, this time at the next setting. Repeat until you get to the second smallest setting (it’s a two on my pasta maker). Store the pasta sheets on a baking sheet dusted lightly with flour.

  8. Cut the pasta into 12, 4 1/2 x 5 1/2-inch rectangles.

  9. Add 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce to the meat mixture. Stir to combine.

  10. Grease a 9x12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup bechamel in the bottom of the pan along with 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce.

  11. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out a heaping 1/4 cup of the filling on to the top of each pasta sheet, horizontally. Roll the pasta up jelly-roll style and place in the prepared pan, seam-side down. Repeat for all 12 sheets. Pour tomato sauce over the prepared cannelloni. Pour the bechamel on top. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly and the pasta is cooked through, about 40 minutes. If a knife easily goes through the pasta, it's done.

  12. Remove the foil from the cannelloni, and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts
Meat Cannelloni with Creamy Tomato Béchamel
Amount Per Serving (1 cannelloni)
Calories 341 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 143mg48%
Sodium 709mg31%
Potassium 355mg10%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 1250IU25%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 137mg14%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.