Beef Cannelloni (Crepes)

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I made this recipe today. It is very time consuming…lots of steps, but it was totally worth it.

For the beef and the passata sauce (serves 4):
1kg lean minced beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 660g jars passata with basil or you can make it your self (see recipe below)
Large pinch of sugar
5 crepelles (se recipe below)

For the topping:
50g butter
50g plain flour
600ml whole milk
140g soft cheese with garlic and herbs
140g Parmesan, grated

For the filling, dry-fry the beef in a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned – about 10 mins. Remove and set aside. Add the oil and cook the onion for 5 mins, until soft. Add the garlic for 1 min more, then tip in the beef and 1 1/2 jars of the passata sauce and the sugar. Simmer for 20 mins while you make the white sauce.
Heat the butter in a small pan. When foaming, stir in the flour for 1 min. Add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to achieve a lump-free sauce, then bubble for 2 mins while stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the soft cheese with seasoning until dissolved. Set aside, covered with cling film to stop a skin forming.
To assemble, scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the center of each crespella. Roll the crespella into a tube along the long side and place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Pour on the white sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan. Heat the oven to 200C and cook for 15 mins until the topping is golden.

Italian savory pancakes (Crespelle):
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
Olive oil, for the pan
4 tablespoons melted butter

Heat a crepe pan over medium heat, smear with oil, ladle in enough batter to make 5 crepelles with aproximately 20 cm in diameter. Cook the crespelles and leave to cool.

Tomato Passata:
15 Fully ripened medium to large tomatoes, halved.
1 Large, finely chopped red onion.
2 tablespoons Olive oil.
4 Pealed and chopped cloves of garlic.
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil.
1 tablespoon Sundried tomato paste.
1 tablespoon course ground black pepper.
Salt to taste.
Makes approximately 1 ltr.

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Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil and black pepper into a blender and liquidise.
Using a large frying pan gently fry the red onion in the olive oil until just golden. Add to blender and liquidise.
Pour the blender contents into your large pan and bring to the boil. Add the tomato puree and thoroughly mix. Now gently simmer, stirring frequently for 10 – 15 minutes and reduce until you have the perfect passata.

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