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Oh wow.  This was one of those “middle of the night, what can I cook that is new and different” moments that actually worked.  So full of the rich and earthy flavour of gorgeous dried porcini, portobellos and thyme the veal was merely a vehicle to “beef” it up a bit.  Encased in a tomato sauce, that cut through the richness beautifully and topped with a luscious bechamel, to bring that richness back a notch, there was no mistaking the star of the show …….”The King of Mushrooms”!

 

To speed up this dish you may use a store bought tomato pasta sauce.  For me, fresh is always best but I understand people are time-poor these days, so I will allow it …….just this once.

 

Prep time: 30 Minutes        Cooking time:  45  Minutes (stove top)  30 Minutes (oven time)          $$  Low to Medium Budget

 

Serves 4  (Double the quantities to make a larger serve)

 

Olive oil for frying

500gm of veal mince

1 brown onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

10 thyme sprigs, leaves removed, stalks discarded and roughly chopped

2 large portobello mushrooms,  finely diced

20gm of dried porcini, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for 20 minutes

1/2 cup of dry red wine

2 tbs of tomato paste

1/4 cup of cream

1/2 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Grated parmesan to scatter on top (as much or as little as you like)

4 sheets of fresh lasagne (I used Latina brand)

 

For the Tomato Sauce:

 

2 Cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 tsp of dried oregano

1/2 cup of dry white wine

700gm jar of tomato passata

1/2 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

 

For the Bechamel:

 

1 tbs of unsalted butter

1 tbs of plain flour

A sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg  (dried is fine, just a pinch)

Sea salt and cracked pepper

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

 

Heat a large heavy based pan and add a little olive oil.  Lightly fry the onion until soft and then add the garlic, thyme leaves and mushrooms.  Fry until the mushrooms are starting to soften and then add the veal mince.  Continue to fry on quite a high heat until the mince is browned all over and broken up with a wooden spoon.

 

Drain the porcini and reserve one cup of the liquid.  Add the red wine to the pan and reduce by half and then add the porcini water.  Allow that to reduce by half and while it is reducing, chop the porcini roughly and add it to the pan.  You want this to be a relatively dry mixture so continue to reduce until there is only a small amount of liquid in the pan.  Stir in the tomato paste, sugar and cream and season generously with salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow the mixture to bubble away while you prepare the other sauces.

 

To make the tomato sauce add a little olive oil to a medium sized saucepan and heat.  Add the garlic and oregano and stir for a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Pour in the wine and reduce by half before stirring in the passata.  Sprinkle in the sugar and season with a little salt and a good sprinkling of cracked pepper.  Reduce to a low simmer and get ready to make the bechamel.

 

Heat a medium saucepan and add the butter.  Once melted sprinkle in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.  Add the flour and whisk to combine, over the heat until you have a nice smooth roux.  Start pouring in the milk gradually, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.  I prefer to use a whisk as opposed to a wooden spoon because it guarantees a lump free finish.  Once lightly simmering, add the cheese and stir until melted.  set aside.

 

To assemble the cannelloni, place 3-4 good spoonfuls of the tomato sauce on the base of a small lasagne dish (I used a square 25cm non stick baking dish).  Slice the lasagne sheets into thirds and place a good sized spoonful of the meat mixture in the centre.  Leave the edges free of sauce because as you roll the sheets it will spread to the ends.  Repeat with all the sheets and if you have any mixture left over, stuff it into the ends of the cannelloni rolls to really beef them up a bit.

 

Pour over the remaining tomato sauce and then top the tomato sauce with the bechamel.  Sprinkle over parmesan cheese and bake in 180°C preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.  Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Serve with mixed salad leaves.