Cooking

My three cheese Cannelloni with mushrooms, spinach and tomato sauce

If it comes to making  pasta we have to give it to the Italians! Masters of creating endless shapes and sizes which each one has a different purpose… If it comes to eating pasta I think we all have a fair share. I never met anybody who does not like it and because of the variety we all have our favourites. Just thinking about lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese or cannelloni makes me hungry. Did I say cannelloni? Today’s recipe is special because I don’t make it very often. It is one of those pasta dishes that takes a little more time to prepare due to the stuffing process but the result is worth every minute of your work:)

 

You will need:

500g dry cannelloni ( 40 pcs)

1 mozzarella ball ( about a size of an apple) for topping

STUFFING:

1 medium onion finely chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms finely chopped

1 lb baby spinach chopped

500g ricotta

1/2 grated parmesan

1 cup grated mozzarella

2 eggs

4 large cloves garlic minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1 whole nutmeg freshly ground

salt, pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

TOMATO SAUCE:

1 medium onion finely chopped

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

2x 680ml strained tomatoes ( crushed is good too)

1/2 tsp dried basil

salt, pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

This is how you do it:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Start by preparing tomato sauce. Place a saucepan on medium heat – add olive oil, basil,onion, garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until golden. Add tomatoes stir. Taste before adding salt and pepper. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer.

Preheat large ( cast iron) skillet.  Add olive oil, crushed red pepper, onion, garlic, mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes on medium high heat until golden brown.  Lower heat to medium, add spinach and let it wilt, constantly stirring.  It will happened very fast. Don’t overcook the spinach. Take off the heat and let completely cool.

Add nutmeg, all three cheeses, then add salt and pepper to taste. When you are happy with the seasoning, add eggs. Stir well.

Prepare baking dish. For this amount of cannelloni I used my turkey roasting pan 29x37cm. You could use two smaller dishes or bake it in two batches.

Spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, lay tightly stuffed cannelloni in a single layer.

You might have your own way of stuffing cannelloni. If not, you can use a small spoon or piping bag. What I did, is filling a zip lock bag with stuffing, cutting off a small corner and using it as a piping bag. Whichever method you use, just make sure the cannelloni is tightly filled with stuffing. I did not precook cannelloni as I find it easier to work with dry ones.

Cover cannelloni with tomato sauce. Cover the dish with parchment paper ( or aluminum foil). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with mozzarella slices and bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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buon appetito!