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Hearty stuffed pasta with a creamy, herby, cheesy ricotta filling, covered in a flavorful meat sauce and melted parmesan, and baked to perfection – this Delicious Beef Cannelloni will soon be your new homemade gourmet dinner of choice that your whole family will love!
Made easier with premade Manicotti shells and delicious Prego® Farmers’ Market Classic Marinara Sauce. You can also assemble this Beef Cannelloni a day ahead and then pop it in the oven when you’re ready, or make extra and freeze for another day!
Dinner time on most nights in our household consist of my taking pictures of our dinner while exhausted, hungry, poor Mr K, patiently waits in the background, looking longingly at his dinner that’s going cold. He hardly (emphasis on hardly) ever complains – for the good sport that he is, but his favorite part of course is when I ask him to take a bite out of the food for photographs or GIFs. He jumps at those opportunities. Literally.
But when I make up to him for all those moments – as I do every now and then – an insanely flavorful, date-night worthy, homemade gourmet dinner is what I make and that’s exactly what this delicious Beef Cannelloni is! No recipe testing, no cameras in sight, no food going cold, just delicious food that’s doused in flavor and enjoyed while steaming hot. Perfect gourmet dinner for a date night, or a fantastic weeknight meal for your entire family. And the best part? You can assemble this beef cannelloni dish a day ahead and then bake it before dinner time, or make extra and freeze for another day.
There’s a reason why this is a classic Italian dish. I’ve always been a huge fan of cannelloni, and this beef cannelloni recipe is a slight variation on the classic. It’s hard to find cannelloni shells here in the US in general, and what you’d find instead are Manicotti shells (which technically aren’t authentic manicotti shells either). There are intricate differences between what’s called Cannelloni and Manicotti, and those are differences that I will explore in another post, with a classic cannelloni dish. For today, I’m going to keep things simple.
You could use fresh pasta sheets and make cannelloni tubes, but for convenience, I’m using premade manicotti shells in this beef cannelloni recipe. And instead of using a meat-filling in the cannelloni tubes, I decided to keep it entirely creamy, herby & cheesy with a ricotta filling that I absolutely LOVE, and then made a super easy and flavor-packed meat sauce that covers the cannelloni tubes (which in turn are baked to a perfect al dente), along with melted Parmesan!
The meat sauce is made with delicious Prego® Farmers’ Market Marinara Sauce and it yields so much flavor to this beef cannelloni, you will most likely end up making A LOT of it. Again and again. Just giving you some heads up. 🙂 By baking you crisp up those edges of the cannelloni tubes, not to mention the melted cheese on top as well. This beef cannelloni is a true pasta lover’s dream!
If you prefer chicken or pork over beef mince, you can easily adapt this beef cannelloni recipe to use either of those meats or even a mix of them. OR you can skip the meat altogether and make it vegetarian by using chopped mushrooms or your favorite meat substitute.
I’m a little picky when it comes to pasta sauces. Yes, I do love making my own (like this homemade marinara sauce with hidden vegetables), but I also love the convenience of good-quality jarred sauces. When I say good-quality, I mean a sauce that tastes fresh with a great depth of flavor, made with the kind of fresh, simple ingredients that you’d find at your local farmers’ market – like vine ripened tomatoes, garlic, basil etc. And that’s what I love about this Prego Farmers’ Market Sauce!
I have incorporated this Prego farmers’ market sauce into a number of dishes. Just last week, Mr K was treated to Baked Marinara Chicken for lunch for the whole week. 🙂 And for dinner we had a simple pasta dish with marinara sauce and grated parmesan on top (best way to test the quality of a good marinara sauce in my opinion), and in both cases, the results were amazing! So I knew right off the bat, that this sauce would be perfect for my beef cannelloni recipe as well. It also helps that the ingredients that go into this sauce are picked at the peak of freshness, which always guarantees great results. Any time you can enjoy a jarred marinara sauce with minimal additions to dress it up, that’s a sign of good quality and freshness.
On a side note, I am seriously in love with the jars that these sauces come in too! They have cup measurements on the side, so they are fantastic to recycle and to be used in the kitchen. The empty bottles have already found various uses in my kitchen. 🙂
The Prego Farmers’ Market Sauce is a new product that’s now available at your local Walmart store, in the pasta and pasta sauces aisle. You got three varieties to choose from – Classic Marinara, Roasted Garlic and Tomato Basil. And one delicious beef cannelloni recipe to try it with! 🙂
I cannot tell you how much we love this delicious beef cannelloni recipe. Well, I could, but then words will not do it justice. It’s one of our go to recipes that we keep coming back to time and again. And since you aren’t cooking the pasta shells prior to baking them in the oven, it saves you that extra step too. Perfectly al denté pasta filled with a deliciously creamy, cheesy filling and topped with a glorious bolognese sauce – gourmet family dinners don’t come better than this.
Delicious Beef Cannelloni
- 10 cannelloni/manicotti shells
Ricotta and Spinach cheese filling
- 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
- 2 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 5 handfuls of spinach or 1 cup of chopped, wilted spinach
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 jar of Prego Farmers’ Market Marinara Sauce 1.5 lbs / 680 g OR equal amount of Hidden Vegetable Marinara
- ⅓ cup chopped carrot about 2 small carrots
- ⅓ cup chopped celery about 1 ½ stalks
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper reduce to ½ tsp if you prefer it mild
- Extra Parmesan to shave on top and basil
- Add about one tbsp of oil into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute to soften.
- Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes while mixing, until wilted. Add a generous pinch of salt. Place the spinach in a sieve over a bowl and set aside to cool. Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach when it has cooled down.
- In the same saucepan, place 1 - 2 tbsp oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrot. Saute until onions and celery soften and turn translucent.
- Add the beef mince, cayenne pepper, sugar and cook with the onion, carrot and celery.
- Add Prego Farmers’ Market Marinara Sauce and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside.
While the bolognese sauce is simmering, make the ricotta filling.
- Place the ricotta, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, egg yolks and wilted garlic spinach in a bowl.
- Mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Trasnfer the filling into a piping bag.
- Place cannelloni/manicotti shells in a dish in a single layer. Cover the shells with boiling water and then cover the dish with foil and let it sit for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Spread a generous layer of bolognese sauce on the bottom of an oven-proof dish (that can hold 10 cannelloni shells).
- Fill the cannelloni shells with the ricotta and spinach mix using the piping bag, and place them on top of the bolognese sauce. Add more of the bolognese sauce on top and cover with fresh parmesan cheese.
- Cover the dish with foil or parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Uncover dish, increase heat to 425°F and bake for a further 10 minutes until the cheese and pasta turn golden brown on top.
- Serve with more parmesan and basil on top.
What’s your favorite Italian recipe that you would make with Prego® Farmers’ Market Pasta Sauces? Cannelloni? Beef Cannelloni, maybe? 🙂 Or Lasagna? or Classic Spaghetti Bologense or Spaghetti Meatballs? Do let me know what you’re inspired to make.
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