Cannelloni, Barcelona-Style

  • Serves

    serves 6


(Canalons a la Barcelonesa)
This is the "national dish" of Barcelona, introduced to the city by Italian restaurateurs in the 19th century. Incidentally, don't be afraid of using lard: The combination of lard and olive oil is typically Catalan—and lard actually contains less cholesterol than butter.


For the Canalons

  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lard
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 6 oz. chicken or turkey, finely ground
  • 3 chicken livers, minced
  • 6 oz. veal, finely ground
  • 6 oz. pork, finely ground
  • 14 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Leaves from 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 18 cannelloni wrappers or 3 sheets fresh pasta, cut into 18 5" × 6" rectangles

For the Béchamel

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 12 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano


Step 1

For the canalons: Heat oil and lard in a large skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, then add onions and garlic. Lower heat and cook until onions begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue cooking until they "melt" into onions. Add chicken or turkey, chicken livers, veal, and pork to skillet, raise heat to medium, and cook 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently. Mix bread crumbs with egg, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir bread crumb mixture into skillet, remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook cannelloni wrappers in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well on clean cloth towels. Spoon a small amount of meat mixture along one side of each wrapper, covering no more than one-third of its surface, then carefully roll each one into a tube, starting from the meat side. As canalons are filled, place them seam side down, side by side, in a lightly buttered baking dish just big enough to hold them.

Step 3

For the béchamel: Heat butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, sprinkle in flour, and stir until a thick roux forms, 3–5 minutes. Add warm milk gradually and stir until mixture reduces, about 10 minutes. Season béchamel to taste with salt and pepper, pour over canalons, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is golden brown, 15–20 minutes.

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