It's never too soon to teach kids how to make comforting dishes like those found in Italian cuisine. And even picky eaters will enjoy many of the creations found in the new book Top 100 Pasta Dishes: Easy Everyday Recipes That Children Will Love, by Annabel Karmel (Atria Books, $18). Here's one that will quickly become a favorite in your house.
-- June Naylor, Special to the Star-Telegram
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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (such as Italian)
8 ounces ground chicken
8-ounce can diced tomatoes
11/2 teaspoons ketchup
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
12/3 cups whole milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
8 no-preboil cannelloni tubes
1. Heat oil in a saucepan and saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, herbs and chicken, and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes and ketchup and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cheese sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and stir with flour and paprika for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring, until thickened. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese.
3. Stuff the cannelloni tubes with the chicken filling. Spoon a little of the cheese sauce in the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish, then arrange the cannelloni in the dish. Pour on the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.