Meat Canneloni

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Apples for Jam

Apples for Jam

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2010

  • About

This is a bit of a job — but great. You can do it all in one go, or cook the mince the day before and make the crepes in the morning with the tomato sauce. Then all you have do is make up a béchamel, assemble it all together and bake. If not, I find it quite satisfying to put the whole thing together in a morning. Your baking dish needs to be about 30 × 20 cm (12 × 8 inches) and about 6 cm ( inches) deep so that two lines of filled crepes will fit together. Otherwise, it starts to get quite fiddly if you have to trim the crepes to fit your dish (although they do look very smart that way).



  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g( oz) butter, melted, plus extra butter, for frying
  • 250 ml(9 fl oz/1 cup) milk

Mince Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 400 g(14 oz) minced (ground) beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 185 ml(6 fl oz/¾ cup) white wine
  • 400 g(14 oz) tinned diced tomatoes
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and squashed a bit
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 400 g(14 oz) tinned diced tomatoes
  • about 4 basil leaves

Bechamel Sauce

  • 60 g( oz) butter
  • 40 g( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 550 ml(19 fl oz) milk, warmed
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50 g( oz) grated parmesan cheese


For the crepes, whisk the eggs in a bowl and then whisk in the flour and a couple of pinches of salt. Add the butter, still whisking, and then slowly incorporate the milk to make a smooth batter. Leave it to stand for 20 minutes or so.

Heat a little butter in a 15 cm (6 inch) non-stick frying pan. Add half a ladleful of batter and quickly swirl the pan around so the batter covers it as evenly as possible. Cook until the underneath is golden, then flip the crepe over with a spatula and cook the other side. Move to a plate with the spatula and cook the rest of the batter. You will need 12 crepes and you should have enough mixture to allow for a couple of disasters.

For the mince sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions over medium heat until quite golden. Stir in the garlic, then add the mince, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, worcestershire sauce, mint and paprika. Sauté over high heat for about 8 minutes until the meat starts to brown, stirring often to prevent sticking and to brown all the meat. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until it has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes and then add 375 ml(13 fl oz/ cups) of water. Season with salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Add the parsley for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time.

For the tomato sauce, heat the garlic with the oil in a saucepan and, when you begin to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes. Season with salt, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have melted. Add the basil and 125 ml(4 fl oz/½ cup) of water towards the end of this time. Purée to a smooth sauce.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then begin adding the warm milk. It will be immediately absorbed, so work quickly, whisking with one hand while adding ladlefuls of milk with the other. When the sauce seems to be smooth and not too stiff, add salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg and continue cooking, even after it comes to the boil, for 5 minutes or so, mixing all the time. It should be a very thick and smooth sauce.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and grease a 20 × 30 cm(8 × 12 inch) baking dish.

To put it all together, spread 2–3 tablespoons of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish. Spoon 3 tablespoons of mince filling along one side of a crepe and then roll it up tightly. Repeat with all the crepes and lay them in two rows of six over the tomato sauce in the dish. Dollop the béchamel over the top, here, there and everywhere, and then spoon tomato sauce on top and inbetween, so that you can still see patches of béchamel. Scatter the parmesan over the top and bake for about 40 minutes, until it is bubbling nicely and is golden here and there. Let it cool a dash before serving.