Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Whilst Spinach and Ricotta cannelloni is amongst one of my favourite pasta dishes, and at one point practically the only dish I would order on a restaurant menu as a child; somehow I have only managed to cook this dish just once, many years back! Unfortunately it was whilst I had a balance problem due to an ear infection and so it took me several hours, in between the room ‘spinning’ and trying to stand long enough to assemble the dish! I'm not sure I even remember whether it turned out good or not, something most unusual for me as I seem to recall nearly every other meal I've had!

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!)

400g spinach
250g ricotta
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.


  1. I've only ever made something similar to this before when I made spinach and ricotta filled pasta shells. Your cannelloni looks so yummy!

    Btw I've had vertigo due to an ear infection too and it is awful!


  2. This sounds so delicious and it looks really good too. I've never made anything more adventurous than lasagne when it comes to pasta. I can see the hint of lemon would be good.

  3. This used to be one of my favourite dishes too but I haven't had it for years - really must remedy that soon. Yours looks very tasty. I haven't even managed to open this month's Jamie mag yet!

  4. It looks delicious Anne - I love baked pasta dishes - they're so comforting and it's a lovely thing to share with family and friends too.

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  6. Mmm I love this dish, can't make it now tho as my OH doesn't like spinach or ricotta boooo!

  7. Maria - Thankyou - it was! Sorry to hear you've had vertigo too, is so nasty, wouldn't wish it on anyone!

    Choclette - Pasta is very forgiving, you should definitely try it out :)

    Aveen - I think the new magazine has just come out, the recipe was from the last issue. It is a lovely recipe.

    C - me too, nothing like a good pasta bake, and great for everyone to dive into :)

    Rosie - Maybe try without the lemon if you are not keen on it, though the dish does not taste 'lemony' it does help to lighten it. And yes indeed re: the oven timing, I do find this typo so frequently its slightly annoying!

    Stools - Spinach is one of my favourites and just so good with pasta :)

    Nic - oh dear, he doesn't know what he is missing! You could try reducing the quantities and eat when he is away perhaps? ;-)


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