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Crepe Cannelloni with Meat Sauce

Crepe Cannelloni with Meat Sauce, homemade Cannelloni made easy and delicious. A simple savory crepe filled with a meat sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and baked to Perfection!

baked cannelloni in a white baking dish


 

The first time I tried Cannelloni made this way was at my mother-in-laws’ for one of my first Easter family gatherings in Italy, about 25 years ago.

These are quite easy and so amazing. After I tried them for the first time I could understand how my brother-in-law ate 30 of them in one sitting.

These are not your regular pasta dough cannelloni, but more of a crepe cannelloni. Strange but believe me, it totally works.

In Italian they are called Crespelle, and they seem to have originated in Florence.

The first thing to do is make the sauce, while the sauce is cooking you can start making the crepes.

How to Make Savory Crepes

In a large bowl with a whisk beat the eggs and water, approximately 1 minute, add the salt and the flour 1 cup at a time and continue to beat until smooth.To make them faster and easier, use a food processor or blender to combine the ingredients.

Then in a small frying pan or crepe pan,  using a 1/4 cup ladle (or 1/4 cup) on low to medium heat, pour the crepe mixture in the pan, using the bottom of the ladle spread the mixture (or the back of a spoon) but don’t make them too large or too small. (about a 5 inch in diameter round (13 cm).

Crepes cook quite quickly, so watch carefully, approximately 20 seconds on each side, they should be cooked but not browned.When cooked move to a separate plate, and continue to cook until batter is finished.

crepe cannelloni how to make batter in the frying pan and stacked

Putting the Crepe Cannelloni with Meat Sauce together

On a wooden board or small plate, place 1 crepe at a time, in the middle of the crepe add 1-2 teaspoons of meat, 3-4 cubes of mozzarella, 3-4 cubes fontal cheese and 1-2 teaspoons (dessert spoon) of grated parmesan cheese. Roll up the crepe.

In a large baking pan, spread some sauce on the bottom of the pan, add the crepes to the pan until the pan is full (they can be touching), cover with remaining sauce, top with some cubes of mozzarella and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. 

crepe cannelloni meat mixture and cheese on the crepes and in the pan ready for baking

It may take a little time, but it is so easy to make and put together. You may have a couple of extra pots to wash, but in the end it will be well worth it.

This is probably why my mother-in-law would make Crepe Cannelloni for Christmas and Easter, she would make pans of the meat sauce and a white sauce type cannelloni, and they would be gone in minutes.

What Is The Difference Between Cannelloni And Manicotti?

To tell the truth I really can’t say there is much difference. Some say Manicotti is an Italian American term for Cannelloni. Which I can actually believe because I have never heard an Italian in Italy say Manicotti.

Some say Manicotti is a filled crepe rather than a dry Pasta Shell which is a Cannelloni. Although I have seen recipes for Manicotti made with pasta shells. Some say Manicotti is filled with a cheese filling and Cannelloni with meat.

One is made with a red sauce and the other a white sauce. But I say, whatever you want to call this Baked Dish, Cannelloni or Manicotti it’s delicious either way.

How to freeze crepes

In order to freeze them, cool the crepes first, then place a square piece of parchment paper between each crepe. Place them in a freezer safe bag or container.

They will keep for up to 3-4 months in the freezer. Before using thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for a couple of hours at room temperature and continue with the recipe.

baked cannelloni in a white baking dish

My family prefers the White Sauce and Cheese Cannelloni, but you can try half and half to see which ones you prefer. So let the cooking begin and as always,  Buon Appetito!

More Delicious Italian Baked Pasta Recipes

crepe cannelloni 2 crepes up close
crepe cannelloni 2 crepes up close

Crepe Cannelloni with Meat Sauce

Rosemary Molloy
An Italian crepe cannelloni (meat sauce) in a delicious meat sauce.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 25 crepes
Calories 155 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

FOR THE CREPES

  • 6 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups water

ADDITIONAL FILLINGS

  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fontal cheese (small cubes)
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella (small cubes)

FOR THE MEAT SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • cups tomato puree (passata)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

MEAT SAUCE

  • Before you start making the crepes, I think it is best to start cooking your sauce. In a medium pot add the oil, garlic, ground beef (broken into small pieces) cook for about 5-10 minutes turning often until almost all browned, add the tomato puree, water, oregano, basil and salt, stirring to combine, bring to a boil and lower heat and simmer until thickens ( half covered) approximately 30 – 45 minutes.

FOR THE CREPES

  • In a large bowl** with a whisk beat the eggs and water, approximately 1 minute, add the salt and the flour 1/2 cup at a time and continue to beat until smooth.
  • In a small frying pan or crepe pan, (I lightly greased the pan once with a brush) using a 1/4 cup ladle (or 1/4 cup) on low to medium heat, pour the crepe mixture in the pan, using the bottom of the ladle (or large spoon) spread the mixture but don’t make them too large or too small. (approximately 6 inches, 15cm round). Crepes cook quite quickly, so watch carefully, approximately 20 seconds on each side, they should be cooked but not browned. When cooked move to a separate plate, continue until all are cooked.
  • Once sauce has thickened remove from heat. From the sauce, using a slotted spoon remove about 1 cup  (more or less) of the ground beef from the sauce, set aside.

PUTTING THE CREPE CANNELLONI TOGETHER

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
  • On a wooden board or small plate, place 1 crepe at a time, in the middle of the crepe add 1-2 teaspoons (dessert spoon) of meat, 3-4 cubes of mozzarella, 3-4 cubes fontal cheese and 1-2 teaspoons (dessert spoon) of grated parmesan cheese. Roll up the crepe.
  • In a medium to large baking pan (depending if you are making all meat or half and half), spread a ladle or a little more if needed of sauce on the bottom of the pan, add the crepes to the pan until pan is full (they can be touching), cover with remaining sauce, top with some cubes of mozzarella and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350° (180°) oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy!

**you could also use a food processor or blender.

    Notes

    *This recipe makes approximately 25 crepes (maybe more maybe less depending on how big you make your crepes, remember not too thick).
    I am assuming that you will make half meat sauce and half cheese cannelloni, if you do all meat or all cheese, then you should double the ingredients for the filling.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 190mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 1.5mg
    Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

    Updated from April 7, 2014.

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    47 Comments

    1. 4 stars
      Manacotti , Cannalloni , what is difference ? mom always made crepe Manacotti , and never ever used ground beef , She used farmers pork ribs in grave , we called its Sunday gravy ,and meat balls , the thick ribs were everyones favorite, , I am 80 now and still make that ,Gravy, Sauce , what ever ya wanna call it ..

      1. Hi Joseph, apparently Manicotti is more of an Italian American term, manicotti in Italy is more known as a sweet dessert, made like a cannoli but more of a pastry and sprinkled with sugar. And you are correct, that Manicotti is stuffed with cheese and cannelloni with meat in the States. But in Italy Cannelloni is stuffed with either or even ricotta any filling really and it can be a crepe cannelloni or pasta. Hope that helps. Take care!

      1. Hi Pauline, yes you can freeze them. Place a square piece of parchment paper between each crepe. Place them in a freezer safe bag or container. They will keep for up to 3-4 months in the freezer. Take care!

      1. Hi Molly, yes you can do that, be sure to keep it refrigerated until you decide to bake it. You can even freeze it and then bake it. It should keep about four months in the freezer. Hope that helps. Take care!

    2. I have tried your meat filled crepe cannelloni, but found they broke during plating. Any suggestions on how to prevent this breaking? They are good but the structure was a bit weak.

      1. Hi Happygolucky, I would make them a bit thicker next time and they won’t break and be sure to not over cook, they should be soft and bendable. Hope that helps. Take care!

    3. 5 stars
      ive made crepes or cannelloni all the time so good gentle light delicious , grazie mille, now i like to adjust the cheese filling , mine here always want CARNE but the cheese i would like to try too, grazie roemary salute pace e armonia

      1. Hi Miriam, I love the meat ones, but my family prefers the cheese cannelloni. Let me know what you think of the cheese ones if you make them. Take care.

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