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Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Recipe

28 Feb 2024 0 Comments
Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Recipe

Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Recipe

Delve into the comforting world of Italian cuisine with this Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, a dish where tender pasta envelopes are filled with a creamy spinach and ricotta mixture, all smothered in a rich tomato sauce and baked to perfection. Perfect for a romantic dinner for two or easily adjusted for a family meal, this recipe promises a delightful culinary experience. Let’s embark on creating this classic Italian dish that’s sure to impress.

Ingredients

For the Cannelloni:

  • 12 cannelloni tubes (or fresh lasagna sheets, rolled)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Topping:

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Preparing the Filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups ricotta cheese, 1 cup chopped fresh spinach, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Preparing the Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped small onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic, sautéing until soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Assembling the Cannelloni

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. If using cannelloni tubes, spoon or pipe the ricotta and spinach filling into each tube. If using fresh lasagna sheets, place a portion of the filling on one end of each sheet, roll up tightly, and cut to fit your baking dish if necessary.
  3. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
  4. Arrange the filled cannelloni in a single layer in the dish. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce.
  5. Sprinkle the top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Baking

  1. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Serving

  1. Let the cannelloni rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the filling to set.
  2. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil leaves if desired.

Tips

  • For a lighter version, substitute part of the ricotta with cottage cheese, well-drained.
  • To serve one or four people, adjust the quantity of ingredients proportionally. The baking time remains the same.

Nutritional Information (estimated per serving)

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Fat: 30g

Q&A

Q: Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh for the cannelloni filling? A: Yes, you can use frozen spinach. Make sure it’s thoroughly thawed and squeezed of excess water before mixing with the ricotta.

Q: Is it possible to prepare this cannelloni dish ahead of time? A: Absolutely! Assemble the cannelloni in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. Add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s cold from the fridge.

Q: Can I freeze the baked cannelloni? A: Yes, baked cannelloni freezes well. Cool completely, cover tightly, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven until thoroughly warmed.


Summary

This Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni recipe is a true testament to the comforting and rich flavors of Italian cuisine. Perfect for a special dinner or a satisfying family meal, it combines the creamy texture of ricotta, the freshness of spinach, and the tangy sweetness of tomato sauce, all encased in tender pasta. With this recipe, you're not just serving food; you're creating an experience—a taste of Italy right at your dining table. Buon appetito!

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