06 April 2017

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

I used to cook a lot with ricotta, but haven't really used it for the last several years.  Last night we had a ricotta-spinach cannelloni - that cheese is so nice and creamy, it makes an awesome addition  to dishes like this one.  I would say though to make sure you use plenty of seasoning, 'cause it's a very mild flavour, and the dish needs some spice/herb to get it going.  
This is a vegetarian version, but this dish will work just as well with some pulled chicken, or mince cooked with a little seasoning and tomato.  

Top tip - give your baking dish a good shake after pouring the tomato sauce over the cannelloni - this will allow the sauce to seep in between all the tubes, so they'll not get stuck together.  

1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 carrot, grated
50 g baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped (about two handfuls)
200 g ricotta cheese
1 egg 
salt + pepper
2 tbsp Italian seasoning (basil, thyme, oregano, little paprika maybe?) 
400-500 ml tomato passata (bought, homemade, a couple tins of chopped tomatoes simmered down to reduce a bit)
1/2 zucchini, grated
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 squares of fresh lasagna sheets 
1 cup cheese, grated

  1. Combine onion, carrot, spinach, ricotta, egg, seasoning and salt + pepper in medium bowl.  
  2. In another bowl combine sauce with zucchini, Worcestershire, balsamic and salt + pepper.  Spread 1/3 of this over base of baking dish to be used.  
  3. Spread some ricotta mixture along edge of one lasagna sheet and roll up (you'll use about 2 heaped tablespoons worth.  Best to divvy it up among the 6 sheets, then roll up - that way if you have any leftover you can spread it amongst all the cannelloni.  
  4. Place the cannelloni seam-down in the baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over top to cover.  Give the dish a shake and then cover with grated cheese.  
  5. Bake for 25 minutes at 200 degrees celcius (about 180 if fan-forced), until pasta is tender and cheese golden.  
  6. Serve with a side salad - we had one of shredded lettuce, grated carrot and beetroot, sliced capsicum and a honey-mustard dressing (1 tsp each dijon mustard, vinegar and olive oil mixed with 1/2 tsp honey).  

NB: photo up top is borrowed - we ate our meals before I remembered to take a photo!! 

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