Ricotta & Spinach CannelloniBY SOL PANDIELLA-MCLEOD
Over the last year I’ve been making a special effort to cut down on the amount of meat we eat. I’ve incorporated more fish in our meals however what I’m really trying to achieve is getting a collection of really tasty vegetarian meals that everyone in the family loves even the little ones, who can sometimes be a little fussy to please.
I’m slowly trialing and experimenting and I’ve come up with a really simple and super tasty dish that my kids actually get excited about. There are two parts to this recipe. The first part which consist of the tomato sauce. You can actually use this sauce for any pasta dish. Just simply add it to some boiled pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and your taste buds will be over joyed with the simplicity and flavour.
Or if you don’t have the time or energy to create your own tomato sauce, you can buy a ready-made sauce. Just make sure you avoid tinned sauces, if you’re not sure why read our article about BPA in canned food.
Part 1: The Home Made Tomato Sauce
- 5 lovely large truss tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 zuchini
- salt to taste
1. Finely chop the onions and garlic and add them to a heavy based pot along with the oil.
2. Whilst they are sizzling away at low heat, chop up the tomatoes and zucchini. You can leave the skin on the zucchini if you want additional nutrients.
3.Once they are chopped throw them into the pot with the salt and sugar. For those of you who don’t know, sugar is a clever little trick that balances the acidity levels in tomato dishes.
4. Pop the lid on the pot and leave it simmering for around 40 to 60 minutes. You might want to give it a stir once in a while to ensure its not sticking.
5. Once all the tomato, onions and zucchini are deliciously soft, turn off the heat and wizz them up in the blender. I use a handheld blender, which is really convenient and easy to clean.
6. Allow to cool whilst you get started on part 2 of the recipe.
Part 2: Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni
- 2tbp butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 handfuls of spinach
- ¼ basil
- 500g Ricotta cheese (the good stuff from the deli not a tub in the supermarket)
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ packet of cannelloni tubes (approx 12)
- 200g Mozzarella
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C or 350°F.
1. Make sure you wash the spinach really well. Shake off the excess water and cut finely along with the basil.
2. Melt the butter in a large pot and add the grated garlic, after about a minute add the finely chopped spinach and basil and season with the salt and nutmeg.
3. Keep turning the spinach over so that it all cooks evenly for about 4 minutes on high heat, it will dramatically shrink Once it’s all cooked through set it aside to cool in a stainless steel colander so that all the excess water is drained out.
4. Once it’s cool, mix it well into a large bowl with the Ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
5. Pour half of the tomato sauce into a large glass or ceramic roasting tray, so that you can place the Cannelloni’s into it once each one is filled.
6. Now it’s time for the tricky bit…filling the Cannelloni. I like to get the kids involved so we can chat away whilst we fill the Cannelloni’s. We use a small teaspoon to fill the cannelloni. The back of the spoon also helps to push it in a bit. I’ve seen others use a piping bag. I’ll let you decide how you do it.
7. Once all the little tubes are filled and laying snuggly on the tomato sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the cannelloni so they are completely covered.
8. Sprinkle them all with the grated Mozzarella and pop them in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden.
Serve with a fresh green salad. I love Rocket sprinkled with a little rock salt, half the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.