Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Wednesday 15 December 2010

I recently had the opportunity to torture my Todd with some pasta again. Pasta 'tis not a real love of his . . .

I think it's his WW2 upbringing . . . he's quite partial to overcooked veg and cabbage . . . but put a plate of spaghetti in front of him, and he automatically screws up his face. He hasn't even tasted it yet . . . but . . . it's foreign food, and he is a meat and potatoes man through and through.

Me . . . I love pasta in any way shape or form. I could quite happily sit and just eat a bowl of buttered macaroni or spaghetti adorned with nothing but salt and pepper!

I do get away with feeding him pasta from time to time . . . but only if it's heavily disguised as something else . . . like lasagna or these delicious cannelloni!

Shhh . . . don't tell him. It can be our little secret.

Delicious sheets of fresh lasagna wrapped around a rich ricotta and spinach filling, and then laid out on a bed of tasty tomato sauce. Napped with a rich bechamel sauce and covered with cheese, it's tastily disguised and thoroughly enjoyed.

What the eye can't see . . . the heart doesn't grieve.

*Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

Delicious pasta tubes filled with a scrummy ricotta and spinach filling, placed on a bed of tomato sauce, napped with a rich bechamel, topped with cheese and then baked until lightly browned and bubbling. Oh so scrumptious!

For the Bechamel Sauce:
250 ml of whole milk (1 cup)
250ml of good chicken stock (heated) (1 cup)
a few parsley stalks
1 bay leaf
a grating of fresh nutmeg to taste
10 whole peppercorns
1 (1/2 inch) slice of onion
3 TBS of flour
3 TBS of butter
1 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato Sauce:
1 TBS Olive oil
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes in their own juice (2 cups)
4 ounces cup water (1/2 cup)
a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
pinch of cloves

For the Cannelloni and stuffing:
500g of cooked spinach (frozen is fine) about 1 pound
300g of ricotta cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 large free range egg, beaten
2 TBS grated fresh Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
18 sheets of fresh lasagna

8 ounces grated Mozarella cheese (2 cups)
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

First make the Bechamel. Place the milk in a small saucepan and add the parsley stalks, bay leaf, nutmeg, peppercorns and onion. Then place it over a low heat and let it come very slowly up to simmering point, which will take about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the milk into a jug, discarding any solids. Melt the butter in a clean saucepan. Whisk in the flour and allow to cook, stirring, over medium heat for about one minutes. Slowly whisk in the strained milk and heated chicken stock. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes over very low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Make the tomato sauce now. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, parsley, onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the tomatoes and basil. Season with some salt and pepper and a pinch of cloves. Add the water. Cook and simmer over medium low heat for about half an hour, until slightly thickened.

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Pour your tomato sauce into a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish, shaking it slightly to cover.

Squeeze as much water as you can from out of the spinach and chop. Whisk into the ricotta cheese, along with the egg, cheese, garlic and salt and black pepper to taste. Take your sheets of lasagna and spoon a portion of the filling along the short end of each sheet and roll up into a tube. Place on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Repeat with all the lasagna sheets, fitting them all in together. Pour the Bechamel sauce evenly over top. Sprinkle with the Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.


  1. I want some! Now please, pretty please!

  2. Oh, my! I just can't imagine not liking pasta! This looks sooo good, Marie! But then, everything you make looks good! I love the trifle from yesterday's post, too--especially with the silver dragee's on top! I use those on my shortbread cookie squares...

    I hope you're feeling better today, my friend--I hate to think of you unwell!

    Sending so much love to you on this rainy California night...


  3. i love pasta, and i'm always up for trying a new pasta recipe. yum!

  4. Oh Marie. This is what we call "heart-attack on a plate".

    Will that stop me? Heh. Heh.


  5. Wow!!! These look amazing!! U have a mind boggling collection of recipes..Now ur happy follower :)

  6. Oh, plate me up some of the tomato-y good comfort now please, Marie... LOL! That just looks sooo good! Yum... Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  7. Could you just ship me a pan of this? I wonder if I could get by with having this for Christmas dinner? I made Gooey Butter Tarts last week, fabulous and am making Linzer Cookies today.

    Thanks again for your wonderful recipes.

  8. This looks so delicious! I can just see this disappearing fast if I served this at my dining table! Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely day!

  9. Ooh yes please Marie, put me down for a big plate of that!


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