I have been making this recipe for over thirty years now and I can’t even remember where I got it from or who gave it to me. However I do have nice memories connected with this recipe, as when I was single I used to go out with my friends at a cafeteria in Limassol called President. I remember that this cafeteria used to serve some food, amongst which Cannelloni (plural in Greek Cannellonia) which was one of my favourites. However, it is in this cafeteria that I met my husband 29 years ago.
During October when I went to Cyprus as we were driving with my sister along the streets of Limassol, I realized that we were passing outside this cafeteria which was once called President, on Makariou Avenue & Arch. Leontiou Street, but until I managed to get my camera out of my bag, I only managed to take this photo and it is the black building you can see on the right.
Makariou Avenue was one the the most commerical streets of the city, where all the expensive boutiques, shops, cafeterias, night clubs, discos etc. were. Needless to say, that this cafeteria as well as many others as well as the night clubs and expensive shops and now in other parts of the town.
Limassol has changed a lot since I left and streets which were so familiar to me then, now they look so different and I cannot find my way around. Villages which were two or three miles away from the town, such as Ypsonas, Zakaki, Agia Phyla, Polemidia, Yermasogia, Agios Tychonas etc., are now joined with the town. Imagine that at the time there was only one seven storey building in Limassol and that was the only one in town. Now there are thousands of them and much higher of course. The only thing which has not changed is the city centre which is around Agiou Andreou Street, in the streets around Katholiki church and the ex Turkish neighbourhood.
I can remember Palia Lemessos, meaning ancient Limassol, as it was near ancient Amathus, (around 7 km from the city) during spring time, the fields near the seaside were full of white and yellow daisies in one field or red poppies in another. Here’s an old picture where Moni factory can be seen in the background.
We used to drive there often as the landscape and seascapes were so beautiful. Just below the fields was the seaside with beautiful beaches where we would go swimming in the summertime. We used to drive there and stop somewhere near a small church, if I remember well it was Agia Varvara church, to watch the sunset or other times in the evening to see the full moon.
Now the only things you can see are luxurious hotels, tavernas and tourist shops, even further away from Amathus.
So, back to reality again, when I first tried cannellonia, as I said, it became one of my favourites. The original recipe however was with a tomato sauce on the top. I haven’t made that recipe for years now because one of my sons doesn’t eat tomato or tomato sauces, so I make it with bechamel or to make it with less calories sometimes I add ketchup on top with grated halloumi. As strange as it seems he eats ketchup but doesn’t eat any other tomato sauces.
Cannellonia with Crepes and ground meat sauce, the Cypriot way
Preparation time:1 hour
Baking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 10 crepes
1 dose of crepes batter which will make 10 (using a 7 inch – 17.5 cn fying pan)
100 ml light fresh cream
For the filling
- 600 grams of mixed ground meat (beef and pork or any of the two)
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup of red dry wine
- 500 grams of whole canned tomatoes, blended
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 cup of finely chopped parsley
For the béchamel sauce
Prepare half does of Bechamel. See recipe here.
1 cup of halloumi cheese, grated
A pinch of white pepper
Note: Instead o bechamel on top you can add ketchup and grated halloumi.
For the filling:
Heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté together for a few minutes. Add the ground meat and sauté as well.
Add the wine and mix. Blend the tomatoes with tomato paste in a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients for the filling, except the parsley. Let it simmer until it remains with a thick sauce and then mix in the parsley.
Simultaneously whilst the ground meat is simmering you can proceed and prepare the crepes.
For the crepes:
Prepare the crepes (I have made mine in a much bigger frying pan but it is better to use the one suggested).
Prepare the béchamel sauce and add halloumi cheese and a pinch of white pepper.
Add 4 spoonfuls of béchamel sauce to the filling and mix well.
Place a spoonful or more (depending on the size of your crepe) of the filling at the edge of the crepe and roll it to form the crepe into a cannelloni.
Place next to each other carefully in a baking tin.
Add some cream in the béchamel sauce to make its consistency more creamy and spread over the crepes.
Place in a baking tin in a preheated oven to 180 degrees centigrade and bake until golden brown.
Serve warm but they are still delicious when cold.
Cannelloni with Minced Meat and Tomato Sauce
This is the recipe I make with tomato sauce:
You will need:
1 dose of crepes
1 dose of bolognaise sauce
1/2 dose marinara sauce
Prepare the crepes as above.
Prepare the bolognaise sauce until sauce is very thick.
Prepare marinara sauce.
Add some bolognaise at the edge of your crepe and roll. Place in a baking tin next to each other.
Add the sauce of top and grate some graviera cheese or halloumi.
Preheat oven as above and bake for about 30 minutes.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,