Cannelloni, an Italian classic, offers a comforting embrace of flavors and textures. These pasta tubes, generously filled with a savory filling, and smothered in rich tomato sauce, evoke warmth and satisfaction with every bite.

Whether you’re looking to impress guests or simply indulge in a homemade treat, this recipe promises a delightful culinary journey.

Cannelloni, a beloved Italian classic

Skill Level:

Intermediate – This recipe involves basic cooking techniques like sautéing, mixing, and baking. While it requires some assembly skills, it’s not overly complex, making it accessible for those comfortable in the kitchen.

Healthy Considerations:

This recipe can be made healthier by incorporating lean protein sources such as chicken or turkey. In addition, use whole wheat cannelloni shells for added fiber. Of course, loading up on the vegetables in the filling makes this dish and even healthier choice.

Lastly, using low-fat cheese and opting for a homemade tomato sauce without added sugars can further enhance its nutritional profile.

Approximate Prep/Cooking Time:

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Cannelloni an Italian classic recipe


  • 12 cannelloni tubes (about 8 ounces/225 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound (450 grams) ground beef or turkey (vegetarian options below)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (240 grams) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (100 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (480 ml) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (100 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic, sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground meat to the skillet, breaking it apart with a spoon. Cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg. Mix well.
  6. Add the cooked meat mixture to the cheese mixture and stir until evenly combined.
  7. Spoon the filling into the cannelloni tubes using a small spoon or piping bag, ensuring they are evenly filled.
  8. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  9. Arrange the filled cannelloni tubes in the baking dish in a single layer.
  10. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cannelloni, ensuring they are fully covered.
  11. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
  12. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  13. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  14. Once baked, let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Best Tips for Perfection:

  • Ensure the cannelloni tubes are cooked until al dente to prevent them from becoming mushy during baking.
  • Use a piping bag or a small spoon to fill the cannelloni tubes evenly and neatly.
  • Allow the cannelloni to rest for a few minutes after baking to set before serving.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Fresh herbs like basil or parsley for garnish
  • Sautéed vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers for added flavor and nutrition

Vegetarian Suggestions:

Replace the ground meat with cooked lentils, sautéed mushrooms, or a mixture of finely chopped vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and bell peppers for a delicious vegetarian option.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve cannelloni with a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
  • Garlic bread or toasted ciabatta slices make excellent accompaniments to soak up the sauce.

Approximate Nutrient Information per Serving:

  • Calories: 450 kcal
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Fiber: 3g

Saving Leftovers:

  • Store leftover cannelloni in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Origin and History:

Cannelloni traces its roots to Italy, where it’s believed to have originated in the region of Campania.

The name “cannelloni” comes from the Italian word “cannella,” meaning “large reeds,” referring to the shape of the pasta tubes.

This dish has been enjoyed for generations, evolving into various regional and personal interpretations.

You might also want to check out more Italian recipes here.

Cannelloni an Italian classic

Cannelloni is a timeless classic in Italian cuisine that captivates with its rich flavors and satisfying textures. Whether shared with loved ones or savored solo, this dish promises to elevate any dining experience with its hearty goodness.

Buon appetito!

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