Mini Cannelloni Bake
Your picky eaters won’t suspect a thing when you hide the spinach in this dish!
- 1 pound ziti with no lines or ditalini
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 1/2-2 pounds ground veal, beef or chicken
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Pre-heat the broiler.
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it up to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve in the pot it was cooked in.
- While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, about two turns of the pan. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until evenly browned throughout, about 6-7 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking until the onion has softened, 6-7 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute to heat through, then season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- While the onion is cooking, place a medium size pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook until the liquid has thickened up. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the meat-onion mixture and the sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta and stir to evenly combine. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top. Place the dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- While the casserole is browning up, prepare your favorite side salad and serve it alongside the pasta bake.