Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

7 Nov

I love cooking with other people – mainly because I like stealing their ideas! I visited our lovely film guru Sarah recently and she whipped up a delicious spinach and ricotta cannelloni. I used to make something similar except it took about three times as long to make so I’ve stolen some of her ideas about how to streamline the process.

Serves 4
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
400g spinach, washed
250g ricotta
Parmesan
Nutmeg
Pepper
Cannelloni tubes (this recipe fills about 12, though it depends on the size of the tubes and how generously you fill them)
500g tomato sauce (out of a jar is fine!)
Mozzarella or cheddar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook stirring frequently until soft, about 6 minutes. You don’t want the onions to colour, if they start looking golden brown turn the heat down a little. Once the onion is soft add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

Add the spinach to the onions and garlic. It seems like a lot of spinach and it probably won’t all fit in your pan at first but it will shrink down a lot as you cook it, add as much as will fit in the pan and then when it shrinks down add more until it’s all in. The spinach should cook until it’s totally soft and wilted, this shouldn’t take longer than a couple of minutes. Once it’s done tip it into a mixing bowl.
Add the ricotta to the spinach along with a good grating of parmesan, probably about a handful but you can use more or less depending on your tastes. Grate a little nutmeg into the mixture (not too much! A little goes a long way) and add a twist or two of pepper. Mix everything up.

Stuff your cannelloni tubes with the mixture. There are lots of techniques for this but I usually just use a teaspoon and push the mixture into each end of the tube, sometimes I use the handle of the spoon to make sure it’s pushed right down inside the tube. This part does take a while and there’s no way that I know to streamline this bit!

Put the filled cannelloni tubes in an ovenproof dish. You want them in a single layer but fairly tightly packed. Pour the tomato sauce over the pasta. Smooth the sauce out over the cannelloni tubes, if it doesn’t cover them fully add a little water to the dish (a tablespoon or two should do), this is so the pasta doesn’t dry out in the oven. At this point you can grate some cheddar over the top or rip up a ball of mozzarella and dot that over the top. Finish with a generous grating of parmesan over the surface and bake for about 35 minutes until it’s bubbling and the pasta is cooked through.

About the Writer: Catherine is a biology geek by day and cake baker by night. When she’s not in the kitchen you’ll be able to find her writing, tending to her tomato plant or curled up reading one of her many cookbooks.

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