Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

A Simple Table

A Simple Table

By Michele Cranston

Published 2016

  • About

Comforting and rich, this is the perfect meal for wintery evenings. The spinach and cheese filling is an old favourite and the olive-studded tomato sauce cuts through the richness of the cheese, making it a winner for everyone. Like lasagne, cannelloni reheats well, so it’s worth making a weekend batch that will fill hungry post-match tummies.

The ricotta filling makes a great base for a summery cheese and spinach pie–just add finely chopped fresh mint and chives to the mixture and sandwich it between layers of buttery filo.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) tomato passata
  • 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 10 pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), finely diced

Filling

  • 250 g (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 400 g (14 oz) fresh full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 100 g ( oz) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 7 g (¼ oz/¼ cup) finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 80 g ( oz/¾ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 cannelloni tubes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). First find a baking dish that will comfortably fit the cannelloni in one layer–we used an 18 x 25 cm (7 x 10 inch) dish. Generously grease the dish with butter.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is lightly golden. Add the passata, basil, olives and zucchini and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, squeeze the spinach to remove the excess liquid. Put it in a bowl with the ricotta, feta, spring onion, parsley and half of the parmesan. Stir to combine. Fill the cannelloni tubes with the spinach and ricotta mixture and then lay them, side by side, in the baking dish.

Season the tomato sauce and then spoon the sauce over the cannelloni. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve with a green salad.