This is originally an Italian dish, but when migrants brought it to Spain, Barcelona adopted and adapted it. I experienced this dish several years ago in Sabadell, a smaller city just 12 miles from Barcelona. Choirs sang when I took that first bite. This is my latest attempt to hear those choirs again. The Recipe is from The Food of Spain- a journey for food lovers by Vicky Harris. My changes are in red.
Barcelona Style Cannelloni
2 tbsp olive oil
125 g (4 1/2 oz) ground beef
125 g (4 1/2 oz) ground pork
200g (7 oz) chicken livers, chopped
I know, I’m a disgrace. I skipped the chicken livers (I’m not a chef! I don’t know what to do with them!)
and I just used about a pound of ground chicken and a pound of ground pork.
1 brown onion, diced
1 leek, white part only, halved lengthwise and chopped (get a leek if you can! They are the BEST!)
2 1/2 tbsp fino sherry (I used vinegar)
1 tbsp chopped thyme
400 g (14 oz) canned chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp chopped flat leaf (italian) parsley
75 g (2 2/3 oz) butter
60 g (1/2 cup) all purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1 litre (4 cups) milk
pinch of nutmeg (I used more than a pinch)
250 g (9oz) package dried cannelloni tubes
(I went to two Italian import stores- no cannelloni tubes! I ended up using manicotti tubes, but they are much thicker. Next time I think I’ll try making my own.)
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) pureed tomato
100 g (1 cup) grated Manchego or parmesan cheese
(we splurged and got the Manchego- Mmmmmm!)
PREHEAT the oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy- based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the beef, pork, chicken livers, onion and leek for 10 minutes, or until well browned, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the sherry, thyme, tomato and half the parsley and cook for 3 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and leave to cool.
TO MAKE the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1-2 minutes, or until pale yellow. Remove from the heat and add the milk gradually, stirring constantly until blended. Return to the heat and slowly bring the mixture to a boil, whisking for 15 minutes, or until thickened. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
FILL the cannelloni with the meat mixture using a wide-tip piping (icing) bag or a spoon. Put the filled cannelloni side by side in a buttered ovenproof dish. Pour the white sauce over the top and dot with the pureed tomato. Top with the grated cheese and bake 40-45 minutes. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley.
Sooooo Yummy! Let me know what it’s like with chopped chicken livers!