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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.