Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni | brownpaperbelle.com
Recipe inspired by various recipes found in Marcella Hazan’s ‘The Essentials of Italian Cooking‘.


1 batch of pasta dough (from this recipe) cut into sheets approximately 15cm long
1 packet of ready made fresh lasagne sheets

2 bunches of silver beet/swiss chard (enough to ensure you have 800g of leaves once stalks removed)
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
250g Ricotta Cheese
100g Feta Cheese
1 egg
Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Tomato Sauce
1 440g tin of Italian plum tomatoes
2 Cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 good glugs of olive oil

Béchamel Sauce 
50g butter
50g plain flour
500mL milk
Good pinch of salt

To Serve

1. Firstly, prepare the filling.  Plunge silver beet into a sink full of cold water to ensure leaves are clean and free from dirt.  Then take them out and place them in a large saucepan with only the water that clings to the leaves.  Heat over a medium heat with a few good pinches of salt, place a lid on (stirring gently when required) until leaves are tender.  Approximately 12 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and drain.  Meanwhile, heat onion and garlic in a large saucepan with olive oil.  Stir until translucent.
3. Once cool enough, squeeze the excess moisture from the silver beet and dice finely.  Add to fry pan and stir through until combined.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add egg, ricotta, feta and nutmeg.  Stir until combined.  Taste and add seasoning if require.  Allow to cool slightly.

5. To prepare the tomato sauce, place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat until mixture has reduced by half.  Pour into a jug and allow to cool slightly.

6. To prepare the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until foaming and add flour.  Stir until it forms a dough like consistency and comes away from the edge.  Remove from heat and add a small amount of milk and whisk until smooth.  Continue to add milk until all is combined.  Return to heat and stir until sauce has thickened to a consistency that will coat the back of a wooden spoon.

7. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Prepare a rectangle baking dish by smearing all sides of the dish with a generous amount of butter.
8.  Now for the assembly process.  Pour a thin layer of béchamel onto the bottom of the baking dish.
9. Place a pasta sheet on a dinner plate.  Spread a thin layer of the spinach mixture over and roll up gently (like a swiss roll).  Place roll into the baking dish, with the join at the bottom.
10.  Repeat until you have one layer of cannelloni rolls lining the dish.  Spoon enough béchamel sauce over to cover.  Top with the tomato sauce.  Finish with one stripe of béchamel down the centre.
11. Top with a small amount of grated parmesan and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until browned on top.

12.  Use an egg flip to lift cannelloni onto the plate.  Top with wild rocket dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

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