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Tomato Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 cups canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped (reserve liquid)
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper

Meat Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound ground round beef
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


  • 1 (1 pound) box lasagna noodles
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces


  1. Tomato Sauce: Heat oil in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan until a light haze forms over it. Add onion and cook until soft. Add tomatoes with liquid and other remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to very low and simmer for 40 minutes with pan partially covered. Stir occasionally.
  2. Blend tomato mixture in blender and taste for seasoning. Correct if necessary. May be made up to a week before serving and stored in refrigerator. Makes 3 cups.
  3. Meat Filling: Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 7 to 8 minutes until soft. Stir in spinach and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. When all the moisture has cooked away, transfer to large mixing bowl. Melt butter in same skillet and lightly brown meat, stirring. Add meat to spinach mixture. Add cheese, cream, eggs and oregano. Mix and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Besciamella: In a heavy 2- or 3-quart saucepan melt butter over moderate heat. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Add milk and cream all at once, stirring constantly with whisk. When the sauce comes to a boil and is smooth, reduce heat. Simmer, still stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the whisk wires heavily. Remove from heat and season with salt and white pepper.
  5. Assembly: To assemble cannelloni, cook lasagna until done. Cut each whole lasagne noodles into 3 equal sections. Pour a light film of the tomato sauce into 2 (14 x 10-inch) shallow baking dishes. Place 1 tablespoon of the meat filling on the bottom third of each of the pasta rectangles and roll them up. Lay the cannelloni side by side, seam-side-down, in 1 layer on the tomato sauce. Pour besciamella over cannelloni and spoon the remaining tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the assembled cannelloni and dot with butter. Cannelloni may be assembled to this point the day before serving, then refrigerated until time to heat and serve. It may be wrapped and frozen.
  6. When ready to cook, bake cannelloni in 375 degrees F oven uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce bubbling.

Serves 8 to 9.

Variation: Use tufoli or manicotti, cut in half after cooking, for pasta.

For a complete meal, serve with a crisp tossed salad, a loaf of Italian bread and fresh fruit.

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