When it comes to Spanish cuisine, one dish that stands out for its rich flavors and comforting taste is canelones. Canelones, also known as cannelloni, is a traditional Spanish dish that has been enjoyed by generations. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, preparation, and variations of canelones receta, providing you with a comprehensive guide to this mouthwatering dish.

The History of Canelones

Canelones have a fascinating history that dates back centuries. The dish is believed to have originated in Italy, where it was traditionally made with pasta tubes stuffed with various fillings. Over time, canelones made their way to Spain, where they were adapted to suit the local flavors and ingredients.

In Spain, canelones became a popular dish, especially during festive occasions and family gatherings. It is often served on special occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and birthdays. The dish has become deeply ingrained in Spanish culture, and each region has its own unique twist on the recipe.

The Ingredients

Before we dive into the preparation of canelones, let’s take a look at the key ingredients that make this dish so delicious:

  • Pasta tubes: The base of canelones is pasta tubes, which are typically made from durum wheat semolina. These tubes are large enough to be stuffed with a flavorful filling.
  • Meat filling: The traditional filling for canelones is a mixture of ground beef and pork, cooked with onions, garlic, and spices. This filling is rich and savory, adding depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Bechamel sauce: Canelones are typically topped with a creamy bechamel sauce, made from butter, flour, milk, and nutmeg. This sauce adds a velvety texture and a touch of indulgence to the dish.
  • Cheese: To finish off the dish, canelones are often sprinkled with grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Manchego. The cheese adds a deliciously gooey and slightly crispy layer on top.

The Preparation

Now that we know the key ingredients, let’s explore the step-by-step process of preparing canelones:

  1. Boil the pasta tubes: Start by boiling the pasta tubes in salted water until they are al dente. This ensures that the pasta retains its shape and texture when baked.
  2. Prepare the filling: In a pan, cook the ground beef and pork with onions, garlic, and spices until browned and cooked through. This filling should be well-seasoned and flavorful.
  3. Stuff the pasta tubes: Once the pasta tubes are cooked and drained, carefully stuff them with the meat filling. Use a spoon or a piping bag to fill each tube evenly.
  4. Make the bechamel sauce: In a separate saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to create a roux. Gradually add milk while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Season with nutmeg and cook until the sauce thickens.
  5. Assemble and bake: Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the stuffed pasta tubes in a single layer, then pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the top. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  6. Bake in the oven: Place the baking dish in a preheated oven and bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Once baked, remove the canelones from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil, for an extra burst of flavor.

Variations of Canelones

While the traditional canelones receta is made with a meat filling and bechamel sauce, there are several variations of this dish that cater to different dietary preferences and tastes:

  • Vegetarian canelones: For those who prefer a meat-free option, the meat filling can be substituted with a mixture of vegetables, such as spinach, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese. The bechamel sauce can be made with vegetable broth instead of milk.
  • Seafood canelones: Seafood lovers can enjoy canelones filled with a delicious combination of shrimp, crab, and fish. The bechamel sauce can be enhanced with a touch of saffron for a vibrant color and flavor.
  • Chicken canelones: Another popular variation is chicken canelones, where the meat filling is made with cooked and shredded chicken, mixed with onions, garlic, and herbs. The bechamel sauce remains the same.


1. Can I make canelones in advance?

Yes, canelones can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. This makes it a convenient dish for entertaining guests or preparing ahead for special occasions. Simply assemble the canelones, cover them tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, let them come to room temperature, and then bake as directed.

2. Can I freeze canelones?

Yes, canelones can be frozen for future enjoyment. After assembling the canelones, cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then place it in the freezer. Canelones can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the dish in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.

3. Can I use different types of pasta for canelones?

While the traditional canelones receta calls for pasta tubes, you can experiment with different types of pasta shapes if desired. Large pasta shells or lasagna sheets can be used as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary, so adjust accordingly.

Canelones are often served as a main course, accompanied by a variety of side dishes. Some popular options include:

  • Green salad: A fresh and crisp green salad with a tangy vinaigrette complements the richness of canelones.
  • Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers, add a burst of color and flavor to the meal.
  • Garlic bread: A warm and crusty garlic bread


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