Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Easy Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

You have to love an octogenarian, who still does cooking courses.  My mum has always been a fantastic cook, very ahead of her time, but there is always something to learn.  And so it was that my
mother enrolled in a cheese making course.  She has recently learned how to make ricotta and yoghurt cheese,  referred to as Labne or Labneh.  And with the copious quantities she is making, our family has become the happy beneficiary of her new produce.  Now all we need is a goat and a cow and we will be set for the Apocalypse.

The other day my lunch was French bread with Labneh, shaved truffles and lemon infused olive oil.  Talk about blow your socks off.  I had never tried truffles, but Aldi had some small bottled ones for sale recently, so I threw my hat into the ring and bought some.  I now understand why people find it hard to describe the taste, as it is non descript and subtle.   However, the smell is easily defined. To me a sniff of the inside of the bottle, was reminiscent of a very good high quality delicatessen.

This labneh was so yummy and I resolved to get the recipe off mum.

Next up was the ricotta.  I have been making homemade spinach and ricotta cannelloni for years. With mum's home made cheese I would have to say this one was the best one I've ever made.  It's still great with store bought ricotta, but the home made cheese made it taste like I was eating the cannelloni in Italy.

This recipe is so easy and my kids eat it happily, so it's a great family recipe, especially if you want a night off meat.  I use Latina fresh lasagne sheets and I bought frozen spinach, so you see, you can have those all in the pantry and fridge, ready as a standby meal.  The shots were snapped on my phone whilst I was beating off the hungry hoards, so they are less than perfect, but I promise you wont regret giving this easy dish a spin.

Easy Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Serves 3 as a meal, or 4-5 as an entree

1 packet of fresh Latina pasta sheets
2 x 250g (9oz.) Frozen spinach
250 g (9oz.) of ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle of your favourite tomato pasta sauce(enough to cover the whole dish)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 teaspoons of dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F.
Defrost the spinach by leaving out of the freezer, or in a pan over a low heat.  Make sure you drain off any excess water.
Put the ricotta in the pan and stir to combine with the defrosted spinach.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add nutmeg and stir.
Oil a large oven dish, by pouring about one tablespoon in the bottom and spreading around the bottom and sides with a pastry brush. I use lemon infused olive oil for an extra layer of flavour, but plain is fine.
Lay out pasta sheets on a clean surface.
Slice 1 sheet in half at a time.
Spread 2 dessert spoons of the spinach mixture down the left hand side of the 1/2 pasta sheet.
Roll up the pasta and use residue oil on the brush or a little water, brushed down the right hand edge of the pasta, to seal the roll.
Place in the olled oven dish, seam side down.
Continue until all the mixture is used up.  You may have some pasta sheets left over.
Spread the pasta sauce over the cannelloni, making sure the pasta is well covered, so that it does not dry out in the cooking process.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and oregano.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbling around the edges and piping hot.

Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

You can find more easy family recipes here.

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  1. I have thought about doing a cheese making course, you may have convinced me I need to do this! That dish looks amazing and I can just imagine how much better it is with home made cheese. You have a very clever Mum xx

  2. Spinach and ricotta canelloni is one of my favourite meals. I love your idea of lemon infused olive oil. #teamIBOT

  3. I've recently started making my own version of 'cannelloni,' because the kids don't like ricotta. It's such a delicious meal though; one of my absolute faves.

  4. My husband loves this dish. You've got some great ideas to make it easier. Three kids would never eat it. Naughty kids!!!

  5. LOve home made ricotta and love , love spinach and ricotta cannelloni! Haven't made it in ages but you've inspired me to give it a go this weekend.

  6. You've inspired me to try this and see if my toddler will eat it.. the comments above suggest she might not but I guess that will mean more for us :-)


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