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Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni

by Kate Mate (follow)
Kate Mate
Dinner (2274)      Lunch (1798)      Vegetarian (1517)      Pasta (281)      Italian (218)      Ricotta (67)      Italian Week (1)     
Cannelloni is one of my favourite dishes and as it was Italian Week here in Brisbane, I decided to try and make it myself. I have done it differently by using fresh lasagne sheets and rolling them, and it makes it so easy you just fill and roll.

Canneloni cooked
Cannelloni cooked and ready to eat

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 11 servings

For the sauce
6 small tomatoes
4 tablespoons of raw sugar
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 medium brown onion
1/2 teaspoon of mined garlic
1 tablespoon of rice bran oil

12 fresh lasagne sheets
1 egg whisked
Extra 2 cups tasty cheese
Handful of parsley or baby spinach to garnish

For The Filling
500 grams smooth ricotta cheese
1 cup of frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups of grated tasty cheese
A pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius fan forced/ 180 conventional oven.
The Sauce
To start heat a fry pan with high sides on high with one tablespoon of rice bran oil.
Dice the onion and add to the hot pan with the garlic and sauté until the onion starts to turn translucent.
Add in the tomato paste and turn the heat down to low.
Stir constantly for about 1 minute just to cook off the rawness of the tomato paste.
Add in the vegetable stock and turn the heat back up to high and bring to the boil.
While it's starting to boil, wash the tomatoes and cut off the tops.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them to the pan.
When the sauce is starting to boil, add in the raw sugar stirring to combine, then turn the heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Canneloni cooked
Cover sauce and cook for 20 minutes

Once sauce is done, mash the tomatoes with a potato masher just to make them easier to blend.
Allow the sauce to cool a little bit and then purée the sauce with a stick blender or in a Nutri bullet.
If you have small Nutri bullet like mine, purée the sauce in batches and pour it into a measuring jug and keep blending until all the sauce is smooth.

To make the filling
Make this while the sauce is cooking.
Boil water in a small pan and cook spinach according to the packet instructions.
Drain spinach when cooked and set aside to cool.
When spinach is cool add it to a mixing bowl with the ricotta cheese, tasty cheese, salt and pepper.
Mix well to combine all ingredients and set aside until sauce has been puréed and cooled down.

Canneloni cooked
This is how the filling looks

To bring it all together
In a casserole dish spread about 4 tablespoons of sauce or enough to cover the base completely so that the pasta on the bottom will cook.

Sauce covering base of casserole dish
This is about 1/2 cup of sauce

Next grab a lasagne sheet and place it down flat on a board and spread about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling across the middle.

Filling on pasta sheet
Spread filling across the middle like this

Next spoon another tablespoon of mixture on top to make it high.
Fold over the edges of the lasagne sheet and on the inside of the folded part, brush a little egg onto the pastry to help it stick.

canneloni rolled
Folded cannelloni will look like this

Gently, but quickly, turn the cannelloni over and place it into the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining sheets and filling.
For my casserole dishes they fit five and a half so I have to use two dishes, but if you can fit them all into one, that would be ideal.
Cover the cannelloni generously with the remaining sauce.

Canneloni covered with sauce
Cannelloni covered generously with sauce

Cover the cannelloni with the extra cheese - 1 cup of cheese per 5 1/2 cannelloni.
Place in the oven for 35 minutes.
When cooked remove from the oven and place two pieces of cannelloni onto each pasta plate. Garnish with parsley or baby spinach and serve.

#Italian Week
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