Leek Cannelloni is a delicate recipe, very easy to make, but really tasty and impressive – a delicious gluten-free baked dish with a creamy texture.
The name “cannelloni” comes from the tubular shape of the leeks, which are used to replace pasta cannelloni. The leeks are first cleaned and then briefly boiled. They are then stuffed and cooked in the same way as classic cannelloni.
Since it’s a vegetable dish, you can enjoy it as a main dish or as a side dish to meat or fish courses. Also great as an appetizer!
I suggest these leek cannelloni with a very light ricotta and parmigiano cheese filling scented with lemon zest. But you can also choose other fillings, as we will see. The dish is completed by the traditional bechamel sauce, which makes it incredibly creamy and enveloping.
For the excellent success of this recipe, it’s important to use very fresh and rather large leeks. In fact, to prepare leek cannelloni, it’s necessary to use the medium inner leaves.
The outer ones are too leathery. The inner ones, tender and sweet, are too small to be filled. Of course, you don’t have to throw them away, but you can use them to make a good minestrone or a delicious leek risotto.
So follow my step-by-step recipe and find out how to make leek cannelloni. They are sure to be a hit with your guests!
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 20 Min
- Servings: 4
For the Cannelloni
- 3 large leeks
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano to sprinkle on top of the cannelloni when finished
- 250 g (1 cup) of Ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 100 g (~1 cup) of grated Parmigiano. Try Parmigiano Reggiano DOP aged 36 months
- 1 organic lemon
- nutmeg to taste
- a pinch of salt
For the Besciamella Sauce
You can also find ready made béchamel sauce. But believe me when I tell you that the homemade béchamel sauce recipe is super easy to make and delicious. As I will show you shortly.
- 500 ml (~2 cups) of fresh whole milk
- 50 g (1.8 oz – ~1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
- 50 g (1.8 oz – 1/3 cup) of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
- freshly grated nutmeg
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
To make leek cannelloni, a variety of kitchen tools and equipment can be very helpful. Here’s a list of items you might find useful:
- Cutting board: A sturdy surface for chopping leeks and other ingredients
- Sharp knife: Essential for cutting leeks efficiently
- Large pot: Needed for boiling the leeks
- Mixing bowls: Useful for preparing the filling
- Measuring cups and spoons: For measuring ingredients accurately
- Cheese grater: If you’re using whole Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in your recipe, a grater is essential for fresh, even shreds
- Spoon or spatula: For mixing ingredients and filling the cannelloni
- Baking pan: To assemble and bake the leek cannelloni
How to Make Leek Cannelloni Recipe: Instructions
Prepare the Leeks
Step 1) – On a cutting board, remove the ends of the leeks.
Step 2) – Cut them lengthwise on the side and discard the outer, tougher leaf. Then cut them into cylinders about 10 cm (4 inches) long.
Step 3) – Next, flake them, being careful not to break them. Peel off the most intact and even layers. Each leek will make several cylinders. Select the largest ones.
Boil the leek cylinders in lightly salted water for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the Filling
Step 4) – In a bowl, place 250 g (1 cup) of ricotta, 100 g (~ 1 cup) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and 2 eggs. Mix well.
Then add a pinch of salt, a little nutmeg and the zest of 1/2 organic lemon. Mix well and set aside.
Make the Béchamel Sauce
Step 5) – In a pan, prepare the “roux” by melting 50 g (1.7 ounce or 1/4 cup) of unsalted butter and adding 50 g (1.7 ounce or 4 tablespoons) of all-purpose flour. Stir with a hand whisk to remove any lumps.
Step 6) – Pour the 500 ml (2 cups) of warm milk into the roux, stirring quickly with a hand whisk. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt and a little nutmeg. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the béchamel has reached the desired consistency.
For more informations and insights see our recipe: how to make Béchamel sauce (Besciamella)
Assemble the Leek Cannelloni
Step 7) – Stuff each leek leaf with a tablespoon of filling and roll up.
Step 8) – Cover the bottom of a baking dish with two tablespoons of béchamel sauce and arrange the leek cannelloni with the opening facing down.
Then cover all the cannelloni with a layer of béchamel sauce.
Step 9) – Now make a second layer of stuffed leeks. Finish with more béchamel sauce and grated Parmigiano cheese.
Step 10) – Bake at 180°C (356°F) for about 20 minutes or until the top is well browned. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
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How to Store Leek Cannelloni
Storing gluten-free leek cannelloni requires a few careful steps to ensure they stay fresh and maintain their quality. Here’s how to store them properly:
After cooking, allow the cannelloni to cool to room temperature. This will prevent condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could make them soggy.
Use an airtight container for storage. This will help maintain freshness and prevent the cannelloni from absorbing odors from the refrigerator.
Place the cannelloni in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within a few days. They typically keep well in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.
Freezing for Longer Storage
If you want to store them for a longer period of time, freezing is a good option.
Properly stored, they can last up to 1-2 months in the freezer.
Always label the container with the date of storage. This will help you keep track of how long they’ve been stored.
When you’re ready to eat the cannelloni, thaw them in the refrigerator if they were frozen. Then reheat in the oven or microwave until thoroughly heated.
I proposed you a very delicate and light ricotta filling.
There can also be many variations depending on the use you want to make of leek cannoli.
If you want to use them as a side dish or appetizer, I recommend a light and vegetarian filling.
If, on the other hand, you want to serve leek cannelloni as a main dish, you can enrich the dish with your favorite ingredients.
Many use mashed potatoes instead of ricotta cheese. They add diced salami or spek.
If you love seafood dishes, you can also add drained and crumbled shrimp or tuna in oil.
For an even more mouthwatering and stringy end result, try adding diced smoked scamorza cheese to the filling.