Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

The first time I cooked this was due to necessity. I had a vegetarian friend coming for dinner, and I was looking for a recipe which would please vegetarians and be substantial enough to appease meat-eaters. Now I cook this because it just tastes great. I’ve made several variations, – this one has bechamel sauce added which I prefer compared to just a tomato sauce, and there are also versions with egg in the spinach/ricotta mixture.

Bechamel sauce:
60g butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
50g parmesan
nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkt cannelloni tubes
400ml tomato passata with basil
1 onion, sliced
500g frozen spinach
200g fresh ricotta
35g parmesan
nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

To make the béchamel sauce: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, and whisk in the milk. Cook for 10 minutes until mixture has thickened. Then whisk in parmesan and season to taste.

Softened the onion in a tbsp. of olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the tomato passata and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

When done, add the béchamel sauce to the passata, and stir until fully mixed.

Defrost the spinach in a microwave, squeeze out the water and chop finely. Mix with the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stuff the mixture into the cannelloni tubes, – this will make around 16-18.

Butter an earthenware dish. Ladle a layer of sauce. Place tubes in a single layer on top of the sauce, then cover the tubes with the remaining sauce. Cover with tin foil and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes until cooked.

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