Sunday, 22 January 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

So last night’s dinner party was a real hit. Although it was created out of a handful of things that were leftover in my fridge and store cupboard. I’m that girl that can make a meal out of anything. I had butter, flour, milk, spinach, ricotta, some leftover mushrooms and beans, and some Cannelloni Pasta Pipes. Hello Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni !!

Spinach & ricotta is a fantastic combination. I’m trying to think what else I could use it in but to be honest the combination with the bechamel sauce is kind of amazing. This is such a wonderfully light and super-tasty cannelloni, all you need to make sure of is that you fill the cannelloni well with the ricotta and spinach mix, so it's not all full of air. And the lovely thing about it is that it goes crispy and golden on top, but remains soft and moist at the bottom. You'll love it!

Spinach and ricotta are both mainstays of Italian cooking, and many dishes that pair the two draw on that culinary tradition. These two ingredients can be combined and served with or in pasta. The combination also makes an excellent stuffing for savory meat dishes.The fact that ricotta is such a soft cheese means that a mixture of spinach and ricotta is a good choice for use in quick Pasta dishes. Lets move to the recipe now :)


Ingredients:

  • Approx 500 gms Spinach
  • 2 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 cup chopped Mushrooms
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil, nutmeg, oregano, black pepper each
  • Salt to taste , almost 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 10-12 Cannelloni pipes
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese  + 2 tsp Parmesan Cheese


For White Sauce

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp Plain flour
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard paste
  • 2 cups milk , i used semi-skimmed
  • 1 Vegetable Stock cube


For Tomato Sauce :

  • 1 kg Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder, sugar each
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste


Method: 

  • First lets make the Tomato Sauce since it takes time to cook and get thick. So, heat Oil in a sauce pan and fry garlic cloves in it till light brown.
  • Add Onion and fry till golden brown. Fold in tomatoes and salt and cook covered for 2-3 min.. Combine with rest of the spices and let it cook for next 10-12 min on slow flame stirring in between.



  • Meanwhile, lets prepare the stuffing. Heat Olive oil in another pan and fry onion till soft and translucent.
  • Add in Mushrooms and cook on high flame for 3-4 minutes till water evaporates. Add in the chopped Spinach and spices and cook covered for 3-4 minutes on a low flame till spinach get wilted.
  • Add the ricotta Cheese, give a final stir and turn off the flame.

  • Check the tomato Sauce and adjust the seasoning accordingly. You can also puree it if you want, I like it a little chunky. Now, when the stuffing gets a bit cooler to handle with bare hands, we shall start filling it in the Cannelloni pipes. Fill each pipe with enough stuffing and keep them aside.
  • The next and final process is to prepare the White Sauce. Please remember we prepare this sauce at last so that it doesnt get flaky while we are doing other things.



  • For White sauce, Heat Butter in a pan, and add in flour on a low flame. Keep stirring continuously till it gets crumbly, will hardly takes a minute or two.
  • Take it off from the gas and add the milk stirring frequently to avoid lumps. Take it back to the low flame and add Mustard paste and stock cube. Keep stirring till mixture thickens.
  • Keep stirring for 4-5 minutes till it gets thick and bubbly. Turn off the heat .



  • Now, layer half of the tomato Sauce thinly in a Baking dish. Place the Cannelloni Pipes over the sauce and arrange them.Pour rest of the tomato Sauce and then the white sauce on top. Spread it evenly with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese on top and bake for 35-40 min at 180 degrees. Take it out and sprinkle Parmesan Cheese over it and bake again for 5 min.



Time to enjoy your hard work !!


Off to Pradnya's Bake Fest 
and my own New Year - New Dish 
Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Emma this week.
Roshan's Sunday Special 

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