Ricotta and spinach cannelloni

This recipe for cannelloni with ricotta and spinach is a classic of Italian cuisine. It is a proper, delicious alternative to the traditional cannelloni or lasagna with Bolognese meat sauce, and perfect for vegetarians. It is a really tasty main course, made with some lovely spinach and fresh ricotta mixed together with a handful of parmesan. To complete the ensemble of wonderful flavours, a generous helping of homemade béchamel sauce. And then into the oven! The beauty of this cannelloni with ricotta and spinach is that it can be made well in advance or even the day before: when you take it out of the oven make sure you cover it with tin foil. The next day heat the oven to a moderate temperature and gently warm your cannelloni. It will be even better!


30 minutes Total time
10 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Prepare a béchamel sauce with 250g, 20g of oil and 20g of flour, a little nutmeg, salt and pepper. Make the lasagne sheets either by using a fresh pasta dough or by some sheets freshly made. Cook the spinach for 2 minutes in boiling water and then squeeze out all the water really thoroughly. Grate the Parmesan, set aside a little and mix the rest with the ricotta and a little salt and pepper. Cut the lasagna into 5x7cm strips, fill them with the ricotta and spinach mixture, and roll them up to form a lasagna cannelloni. Arrange them neatly in an oven dish or casserole and coat well with the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese, then place under the grill for 10 minutes.

If you like the idea of giving a little touch of something extra to your cannelloni, ‘stain’ the base of the oven dish and the surface of the pasta with fresh tomato sauce. If you’re not particularly bothered about keeping it strictly vegetarian, you could add some diced ham or mortadella to the filling.
Outside Italy, this type of pasta is not always called "cannelloni". In Britain, for example, it is often cited in the singular, ‘cannellone’, because it is easier to pronounce than the plural. Elsewhere they refer to it as ‘manic he’ or ‘sleeves’.

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