Spinach & Ricotta – Cannelloni

Prep time: 10 min. Cooking time:  1 hr 20 plus cooling. Serves: 2-4


250g fresh egg lasagne sheets

For the sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and cut in half

1 carrot, cut in half lengthways

1 celery stick, cut in half

800g tinned plum tomatoes

1 small bunch basil

Splash of balsamic vinegar

For the filling

250g fresh spinach

1 tbsp butter

1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed

175g fresh ricotta

30g Italian hard cheese, grated



Heat the olive oil in a wide pan over a medium heat, add the onion, carrot and celery, and fry for two minutes, until they start to brown. Add the tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar, bring everything to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook gently for about 30 minutes, until thick. Remove the vegetables and herbs, then blend the sauce until fairly smooth, and season to taste.

While the sauce is cooking, trim and discard any tough stalks from the spinach and wash the leaves well. Put the still-wet spinach into a saucepan over a medium heat, cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the spinach is completely wilted, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process. 

Once it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze until dry, then chop finely.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic, cook for one minute, then add the spinach. Sauté to coat everything with the butter, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan) / gas mark 6. Mix the ricotta and spinach and add most of the grated cheese, reserving some for the top, season the mixture well with nutmeg and salt.

Pour a thick layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of a medium baking tin. Make a sausage shape of filling on the short end of one of the pasta squares and roll it up, until you have slight overlap. Put the filled tube seam side down in the baking dish, then repeat with the remaining pasta and filling; pour the remaining sauce on top. 

Bake for 30 minutes. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the dish before serving and place under the grill until it bubbles.