When this months copy of Jamie magazine arrived containing a recipe for Spinach and Ricotta cannelloni I decided it was high time that I tried again, after a not so fun Saturday afternoon spent doing battle with a trolley, though slightly allieved by a glass of very nice Shiraz when we got home, Spinach and Ricotta cannelloni finally got made again!
Overall the recipe is easy to follow, though it does suggest pre-heating the oven about an hour in advance, if you are following it word perfectly but I will definitely make this one again and know for next time! I really liked the lightness of this dish, there is a subtle hint of lemon zest which lifts the filling to a new level and I urge you not to omit it from the recipe!
It also reminded me to order some disposable piping bags for filling the shells, as my DIY greaseproof paper ones I use for icing fell apart and caused a temporary mayhem! I think we were wearing more spinach at one point than the cannelloni had in it!
Serves 6 (though I upped the quantities by a third, as always good to have leftovers but we had none despite there being 5 of us!)
1 egg, beaten
2tsp grated parmesan
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 garlic, crushed
Grated zest ½ lemon
½ bunch basil leaves
1 bay leaf
250g mozzarella, sliced
150g canneloni, approx 14 shells
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling (I forgot this bit)
Pre-heat oven to 160 fan/ 180/ gas 4 (though do this a bit later on, as above!)
Put the spinach and a drizzle of olive oil in a large saute pan, on a low heat. Add the nutmeg, a little s&p and cover, gently cook the spinach down (I.e dark green and all wilted) stirring occasionally, transfer to a bowl to cool down.
Use the same pan to heat a little more olive oil, sweat the onion until soft, then add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, a few basil leaves, lemon zest and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until it has thickened, season to taste.
Squeeze the moisture out of the spinach, back into the bowl and chop up the spinach, return to the liquid in the bowl and stir in the egg, ricotta and parmesan. (I did omit some of the liquid as my spinach was quite wet when cooking)
Pipe or fill the canneloni with the mixture and place in a dish to hold them all snugly, in one layer. Spread over the tomato sauce (dont 't forget to pick out the bay leaf!), scatter the basil and add the mozzarella slices, drizzle with the EVOO and cook for 35-40 minutes or until golden and the pasta is cooked through.
Allow to stand for a couple of minutes, then top with remaining basil. Serve with a nice green baby leaf salad.