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Olive Garden style Cannelloni al Forno

The trick to this Olive Garden-style Cannelloni al Forno recipe is processing the ingredients in a blender to achieve the smooth texture this dish is known for. This copycat recipe is spot on in the flavor department too.

Preparation Time3 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup carrot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup Parmesean cheese, freshly ground
  • Fresh pasta (highly recommended but could use dried cannelloni tubes)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar high quality marinara sauce
  • 1/2 pound Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup Parmesean cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrot, and cook over moderate heat until softened.
     
  2. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add veal, pork, and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink. Drain excess liquid and grease thoroughly.
     
  3. Add wine, and reduce for 1 minute. Stir in broth. Add herbs, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
     
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover, and reduce until almost dry. Discard bay leaf. Set aside to cool.
     
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan set over moderately low heat. Whisk in flour for approximately 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
     
  6. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
     
  7. Transfer the cooled meat mixture to a large bowl. Mix in egg yolks. Mix in the cheese and parsley sauce. Set aside to cool.
     
  8. In a medium size bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix. Mixture should form a stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
     
  9. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. With a pasta machine or by hand roll dough out to desired thickness (recommend the #5 thickness setting on hand-crank pasta machine). Use machine or knife to cut into 4- x 5-inch strips.
     
  10. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles a few at a time until al dente. This should take only a minute or two with fresh pasta. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. Spread the noodles in one layer on paper towels to drain.
     
  11. Place 1/3 of the cooled meat and parsley sauce mix into a blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until a smooth texture is achieved, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining mixture until all filling ingredients are processed.
     
  12. Prepare Fontina Cheese Sauce by placing Fontina, cream, butter and Parmesan in a double boiler or a bowl in a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth and hot.
     
  13. Cover bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish with 1/4 inch of marinara sauce. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling down the center of one noodle, and roll the noodle to enclose the filing. Transfer the cannelloni, seam side down, to 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling, arranging in single layer.
     
  14. Ladle the remaining marinara sauce on one side of the cannelloni, leaving the other 1/2 of each tube without sauce. Spread the Fontina cheese sauce on the other 1/2 of the cannelloni and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
     
  15. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until bubbling. Run under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, or until golden.

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I would love to make this and I have it in my head to make it in a lasagna form, but I have a question. In step 6, it says to add parsley. How much? It's not listed in the ingredients.

I just threw in a few tbs. of dried parsley. Though I made several adjustments due to ingredient availability, it turned out really good.

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