spinach and ricotta cannelloni recipe

This classic dish is perfect for a big family Saturday lunch, or a vegetarian feast. The fresh lasagne sheets do not need any pre-cooking, but if using dried, follow the cooking instructions. You can also substitute thin slices of aubergine for the lasagne, lightly frying them before stuffing with the spinach mixture.

Serves 6

  • 500g spinach
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • 150g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons dry-fried pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 10 fresh lasagne sheets, 15 x 9cm

For the cheese sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus a little extra for sprinkling
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • Salt and black pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • Good pinch of salt

First make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour, stirring for a few seconds. Whisk in the milk, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.

Stir in the Parmesan, crème fraîche and salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the tomato sauce, put the onion and olive oil in a saucepan and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the tomatoes, oregano, garlic and salt and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until reduced by about a third and quite thick. Remove the garlic. Set aside.

Rinse the spinach, then put it into a large lidded saucepan and cook over a medium heat (no extra water needed) until wilted. Drain well in a colander or sieve, pushing out any water with the back of a spoon or squeezing it out with your hands. Roughly chop and place in a bowl.

Add the ricotta, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, nutmeg and a little salt and pepper to the spinach. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4.

Spread out the lasagne sheets on a work surface. Place an equal amount of the spinach mixture on each one and roll up.

Put the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 30 x 22cm ovenproof baking dish and lay the cannelloni on top, seam side down. Pour the cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle with extra grated Parmesan. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.

Serve with beetroot and carrot salad, and green bean and butter bean salad with extra virgin olive oil.

This recipe features on p37 in Sarah Raven's Food for Friends & Family

spinach and ricotta cannelloni