Spinach & ricotta cannelloni

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni

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(52 ratings)

Prep: 50 mins Cook: 40 mins

Easy

Makes 10 servings
Keep a few portions of this vegetarian classic in the freezer and you'll never be stuck for a satisfying supper

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal711
  • fat47g
  • saturates27g
  • carbs44g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre5g
  • protein30g
  • salt1.59g
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Ingredients

    For the tomato sauce

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 3 tbsp caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 4 x 400g cans chopped chopped tomatoes
    • small bunch basil leaves

    For the topping

    • 2 x 250g tubs mascarpone
    • 3 tbsp milk

      Milk

      mill-k

      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 85g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
      Parmesan

      Parmesan

      parm-ee-zan

      Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

    • 2 x 125g balls mozzarella, sliced

    For the filling

    • 1kg spinach
      Spinach

      Spinach

      spin-atch

      Used in almost every cuisine across the world, spinach is an enormously popular green vegetable…

    • 100g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
      Parmesan

      Parmesan

      parm-ee-zan

      Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

    • 3 x 250g tubs ricotta
      Ricotta

      Ricotta

      ree-cot-a

      Ricotta is an Italian curd cheese. Made from whey, it is traditionally a by-product of making…

    • large pinch grated nutmeg
    • 400g dried cannelloni

    Method

    1. First make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic for 1 min. Add the sugar, vinegar, tomatoes and some seasoning and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until thick. Add the basil and divide the sauce between 2 or more shallow ovenproof dishes (see Tips for freezing, below). Set aside. Make a sauce by beating the mascarpone with the milk until smooth, season, then set aside.

    2. Put the spinach in a large colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt it (you may need to do this in batches). When cool enough to handle squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop the spinach and mix in a large bowl with 100g Parmesan and ricotta. Season well with salt, pepper and the nutmeg.

    3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Using a piping bag or plastic food bag with the corner snipped off, squeeze the filling into the cannelloni tubes. Lay the tubes, side by side, on top of the tomato sauce and spoon over the mascarpone sauce. Top with Parmesan and mozzarella. You can now freeze the cannelloni, uncooked, or you can cook it first and then freeze. Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 mins before serving.

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    Comments (66)

    lurvlyloz's picture
    2.5

    It was ok. Nothing special and definitely not my favourite. Wouldn't bother with he Mozerella on the top. Probably won't bother again

    louisekfinch's picture
    5

    This is one of my go-to recipes. I keep all the individual elements in the freezer so I can easily put it all together. The tomato sauce in particular is delicious.

    marley88's picture
    3.75

    Made a variation of this recipe and it was really good! We left out the mascapone on top for cost reasons and we made our usual tomato sauce recipe (tinned tomatoes, garlic, basil, sugar, salt, pepper). Followed the rest of the recipe exactly and it was very tasty!

    clough91's picture

    Dont know what went wrong but the topping came out really watery and fell apart when I took it out of the pan. Will try it without the mozzarella cheese next time maybe. Tasted really nice though. Even non vegetarians liked it! Filled the cannelloni with a normal dinner knife and it was really easy. In fact it was easier to fill the tubes than normal meat cannelloni because it was more of a paste texture and it stuck in the tubes easily without trying to fall out.

    thecherub's picture
    5

    I followed the recipe pretty much exactly (just less oil and sugar). Was pleasantly surprised how easy this actually was and so tasty, even my meat lover was happy with this. I will make it again.

    SophieandAlex's picture
    3.75

    I never usually leave comments on recipes but I really wanted to for this because so many people had posted suggestions and I thought I might have some helpful ones (possibly!). I was only cooking for two but I wanted enough for us to have leftovers for lunch the following day and I after reading all of the suggestions that people were making with regards to quantities I still wasn't sure how much to use hence why I thought it might be helpful to anyone else.

    I used a single baking tray which measures 31cm long, 21cm wide and 5cm deep. Luckily for me, I could perfectly fit two rows, side by side, of cannelloni in the tin. To make this quantity, I used one whole box (250g) of cannelloni tubes from Sainsbury's, I then used 725g of frozen spinach (another user had suggested this) and 500g of ricotta and 50g of parmesan to make the filling. This, to a T, was a perfect amount to fill all of the tubes, I had exactly the right amount and none wasted. I didn't make my own tomato sauce because of comments people were making about the sugar and so on so I bought two 500g jars of Siansbury's passata and I had quite a bit left over so I think a 750g jar would be better. I bought a 500g tub of mascarpone but I got a little carried away on the milk front. I got really nervous that after all the effort that went into this, I wasn't going to be able to make an even layer of the sauce on top as the mascarpone was still quite firm so I think I overthinned it a little. What this meant was that it didn't brown up/solidify while it cooked so it was very wet on the top when I served it.

    Aside from my recommendations on quantities the only other things I would say are this; don't be shy about seasoning the spinach mix, there are a lot of either strong or rich flavours here, and I wished I had seasoned just a little more to bring them all out a bit. I would definitely use passata again as it just makes the whole process so much easier and straight forward. I agree in part with all the comments about filling the tubes, it is incredibly messy (almost to the point of being funny!), I have a piping bag, but mine is more of a fabric bag not plastic so I was soaked with ricotta that was dripping through my bag - a plastic piping bag is the way to go next time! I'm also quite cross with myself because I allowed myself to be swayed by the cannelloni box! On the box it provides a recipe like this one for the same dish but suggests that you cook it for 40 minutes covered in foil and then another 20 minutes uncovered - this recipe doesn't tell you to do that. I covered mine and then 40 mins later when I lifted the foil, all of my mozzerella and parmesan was stuck fast to the foil and therefore wasted, so don't be tempted to cover it. Very lastly, I fed myself and my partner portions big enough to put us in a food coma, and had only used half the tray, so we have had loads left over today! Sorry this has been so long, I hope even one person finds it handy or helpful!

    SophieandAlex's picture
    3.75

    I never usually leave comments on recipes but I really wanted to for this because so many people had posted suggestions and I thought I might have some helpful ones (possibly!). I was only cooking for two but I wanted enough for us to have leftovers for lunch the following day and I after reading all of the suggestions that people were making with regards to quantities I still wasn't sure how much to use hence why I thought it might be helpful to anyone else.

    I used a single baking tray which measures 31cm long, 21cm wide and 5cm deep. Luckily for me, I could perfectly fit two rows, side by side, of cannelloni in the tin. To make this quantity, I used one whole box (250g) of cannelloni tubes from Sainsbury's, I then used 725g of frozen spinach (another user had suggested this) and 500g of ricotta and 50g of parmesan to make the filling. This, to a T, was a perfect amount to fill all of the tubes, I had exactly the right amount and none wasted. I didn't make my own tomato sauce because of comments people were making about the sugar and so on so I bought two 500g jars of Siansbury's passata and I had quite a bit left over so I think a 750g jar would be better. I bought a 500g tub of mascarpone but I got a little carried away on the milk front. I got really nervous that after all the effort that went into this, I wasn't going to be able to make an even layer of the sauce on top as the mascarpone was still quite firm so I think I overthinned it a little. What this meant was that it didn't brown up/solidify while it cooked so it was very wet on the top when I served it.

    Aside from my recommendations on quantities the only other things I would say are this; don't be shy about seasoning the spinach mix, there are a lot of either strong or rich flavours here, and I wished I had seasoned just a little more to bring them all out a bit. I would definitely use passata again as it just makes the whole process so much easier and straight forward. I agree in part with all the comments about filling the tubes, it is incredibly messy (almost to the point of being funny!), I have a piping bag, but mine is more of a fabric bag not plastic so I was soaked with ricotta that was dripping through my bag - a plastic piping bag is the way to go next time! I'm also quite cross with myself because I allowed myself to be swayed by the cannelloni box! On the box it provides a recipe like this one for the same dish but suggests that you cook it for 40 minutes covered in foil and then another 20 minutes uncovered - this recipe doesn't tell you to do that. I covered mine and then 40 mins later when I lifted the foil, all of my mozzerella and parmesan was stuck fast to the foil and therefore wasted, so don't be tempted to cover it. Very lastly, I fed myself and my partner portions big enough to put us in a food coma, and had only used half the tray, so we have had loads left over today! Sorry this has been so long, I hope even one person finds it handy or helpful!

    VickiP39's picture
    5

    Really tasty! Added a bit more parmesan than recommended just incase it was a little bland, but the dish was very nice. Approved by the resident meat-eater too

    rosehadley's picture

    This meal looks rather expensive. But might give it a try

    Katyadoma's picture

    I just love it. It's fantastic vegetarian cannelloni . I've impressed my guests with that. Our friend a big fun of Italian food. He goes to Sardinia every summer and he always compare food with his favorite restaurant in Sardinia . So he rate this cannelloni to be on top :)
    I didn't find cannelloni in the store so I used lasagna and pre cooked it before

    Hansku's picture

    Very nice. Add a little grated lemon zest to the spinach filling for added zing. I split this recipe across two dishes and froze one batch for a rainy day. Next time I would be tempted to actually add more sauces to the recipe, maybe an extra tin of tomatoes and a bit more mascarpone and milk, as I found I had the odd bit of cannelloni that was a tad too al dente because there wasn't quite enough sauce to sufficiently submerge the pasta. This may have just been the size of my baking dishes of course. Overall, would make it again and makes a good base for trying different fillings etc.

    HeiLuc24's picture
    2

    This would have been a great recipe but for the sweetness of the tomato sauce which meant that, after all the effort of making the dish, it was very disappointing for me. If you don't like a really sweet tomato sauce, I would readjust the level of sugar that goes into it.

    hanni99uk's picture
    5

    This is the most perfect cannelloni I have ever made!
    Very impressed indeed and quite luxurious with all the cheeses but
    suppose could take some out if Wang healthier version.

    kazza63's picture
    4

    I made this for a meat free Sunday lunch for a family of 4 and had more than enough with one dish for seconds. Real easy to make, definitely not a recipe for someone watching their weight with all the different cheeses and I found the Tomato Sauce a little sweet for my liking. I did change the recipe slightly by using tinned pureed spinach instead of fresh and left out the Basil leaves. The shallow dishes I used were oval and must have been larger than used in the recipe as I found that I needed twice the amount of topping to do both dishes, each dish held 10 Cannelloni tubes. More than enough for Monday tea as well.

    kazza63's picture
    4

    I made this for a meat free Sunday lunch for a family of 4 and had more than enough with one dish for seconds. Real easy to make, definitely not a recipe for someone watching their weight with all the different cheeses and I found the Tomato Sauce a little sweet for my liking. I did change the recipe slightly by using tinned pureed spinach instead of fresh and left out the Basil leaves. The shallow dishes I used were oval and must have been larger than used in the recipe as I found that I needed twice the amount of topping to do both dishes, each dish held 10 Cannelloni tubes. More than enough for Monday tea as well.

    amywalsh1985's picture
    4

    Very nice, yes a little fiddly getting it into the cannelloni tubes but nothing to put me off. I didn't have a piping bag or even a freezer bag so I used small spoonfulls and squished them in using a chopstick! My one critiscism is that I found the mascarpone sauce went a little dry when baked so I'd be more tempted to use a white sauce next time. Or maybe I just needed to add a bit more milk.. not sure

    chellym's picture
    5

    This was lovely! A bit difficult trying to squeeze the mixture into the tubes in the end I gave up with the piping bag and just put it in my hand, a long process but much easier.
    We really enjoyed it, and still have another batch for tea tonight.

    duranfan123's picture

    I have just priced all the ingredients needed to make this recipe at Tesco and it will cost £19.71. No wonder people buy ready meals !

    sinesteele's picture

    Or less than £2 per serving!

    mia.a's picture
    5

    Well ready meal will not have these ingredients. And this is for 10 servings! I think it's easy to skip mascarpone and make just béchamel on top, even without mozzarella. But it's nice to have a "luxury" option.

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    Questions (1)

    vickes13's picture

    The ingredients list seems to be missing?! I'm sure there is more than olive oil in this recipe....?

    last edited: 16:00, 21st Jun, 2013

    Tips (1)

    deelf's picture

    You really don't need sugar at all in this recipe and certainly not 3 tablespoons! To add sweetness or counteract the acidity of the tomatoes, finely chop a carrot, a stick of celery and a small red onion, fry off enough to soften, put them through a blender and add to the sauce. Much healthier than sugar.