Beef cannelloni is a succulent spinach and beef filling topped with a generous tomato cannelloni sauce and melted cheese. It’s deliciously delicious comfort food that’s 100% freezable. Serve this recipe with cannelloni or penne!
I think most people think of spinach and ricotta when they think of cannelloni. While still my favorite, this juicy spinach and ground beef version is popping up more and more in my world lately.
In fact, I make it more for friends than for myself – as it’s a delicious side dish that can be frozen and a safe bet (i.e. a meal that kids and adults alike will love it!)
This beef cannelloni recipe can be used with any cannelloni or macaroni.
What is meatloaf? What is the difference between cannelloni and manicotti? ?
Cannelloni is a tube of dry pasta filled with filling and covered with sauce and cheese as a pastry. Cannelloni tubes are not cooked when filled – they are cooked (softened) when cooked.
Manicotti is the Italian-American version of cannelloni. Same concept – pasta tubes are filled, but they’re usually bigger and often have ridges instead of a smooth surface.
This beef cannelloni recipe can be served with cannelloni or macaroni. In Australia, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen macaroni in an Italian grocery store. But cannelloni are more popular – available at all major grocery stores (Woolies, Coles, Harris).
What you need
The 3 parts of Beef Cannelloni are:
- The Cannelloni Sauce – The key to all good cannelloni! Do the filler and make it thinner than you think – uncooked cannelloni will absorb a lot of liquid when cooking (it has to do this to cook cannelloni);
- Spinach and Beef Stuffing – I like to use beef cubes for seasoning (aka bouillon cubes/bouillon cubes – or use powdered cubes) instead of old seasoned salt to make it even tastier . Add a little cannelloni sauce for extra juice!
- Cannelloni tubes (above) or macaroni tubes – these are sold in tubes, uncooked, filled with filling and cooked
How to make Beef Cannelloni
There was nothing difficult about making the pieces other than filling the tubes with cannoli, which was inevitably a little messy/awkward.
But years of stuffing cannelloni have taught me one thing: the fastest and easiest way to fill cannelloni rolls is with a piping bag. Those were the times when I was too lazy to use a piping bag and then I regretted the 3 tubes of…
Use a piping bag. or zipped pocket. Anything you can use for plumbing. You will thank me later!
The moment you take this perky beauty out of the oven…I don’t know what it is, but you know it’s delicious! ! !
Seriously, cannelloni is as impossible to photograph as lasagna. There’s no way to make a plate of this cheesy succulent look elegant. Whatever – it’s a mess and I totally own it!
What to serve with Beef Cannelloni
Cannelloni is essentially just another type of pasta. I put it in the same bucket as the lasagna. This means – for a full Italian feast I would combine: