Cannelloni with Spinach, Ricotta and Mushrooms
Bursting with ricotta, spinach and earthy mushroom flavors, this pasta dish is worth every bit of effort. Cooking it in a steam oven keeps the pasta really tender while still browning and crisping the cheesy top.
- 1 onion very finely chopped
- 48 oz tomato passata equivalent to 2x24oz (700g) bottles of sauce/puree
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1.1 lb mushrooms roughly sliced, button mushrooms are fine although field or cremini will give more depth of flavor
- 2 sprigs thyme leaves picked
- 1.1 lb frozen spinach thawed and excess water squeezed out
- 2.2 lb ricotta cheese drained overnight in the fridge (or use around 800g, just under 2lb, of firm/drained ricotta instead
- 3.5 oz parmesan cheese grated
- black pepper to taste
- 16 sheets fresh pasta each measuring about 6"/15cm square (if you’re in Australia, this is equivalent to about a supermarket packet of fresh lasagne sheets, with each long sheet cut in half to make a square)
- 5 oz mozzarella cheese shredded, use more if you like an extra cheesy top on your cannelloni
Make the filling
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add half of the oil and the onion. Saute until the onion is soft but not coloured, then add the tomato passata, bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, combination steam setting. If you have variable steam settings, select 30% (if not, don’t worry! Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and your oven will take care of the humidity.
Put the remaining oil, garlic, mushrooms and thyme into a shallow baking tray and mix to combine. Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated (a little liquid is ok). Remove the tray from the oven, stir through the spinach and season well with pepper. Turn the oven off for now.
Put the spinach mixture into a food processor, or use a stick blender, and pulse until the mushrooms are roughly pureed. You want to leave a little texture but no huge chunks. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly.
Stir the ricotta and parmesan through the spinach and mushrooms and check the mixture for seasoning. You may wish to add a little salt here but I don’t usually find I need it. Put the mixture into a large piping bag or zip-lock bag (you may need to do it in two batches). If you’re using a zip-lock, snip the corner off to give an opening of about 2cm (5/8").
Assemble and bake the cannelloni
If you want to bake your cannelloni straightaway, turn the oven back on to the same settings as given in step 2. Spread about a third of the tomato and onion over the bottom of a large baking dish or two smaller dishes. You don’t need much, just a vague slick to stop the pasta sticking to the dish.
Lay the pasta sheets across a clean benchtop and squirt a roughly 2.5cm (1") thick line along the closest edge of each piece. Roll each one up into a tube and lay them, fairly snug but not too packed-in, into the baking dish.
Pour the rest of the tomato and onion over the top of the tubes, making sure you cover all the pasta properly. You might need to spread it out with a spoon to get right to the edges and into the corners. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese, then bake until the pasta is tender and the cheese golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
- This spinach, ricotta and mushroom version of cannelloni is a favourite in our house, but you can use any filling you like with the method. I love a roasted pumpkin and ricotta version with fried sage leaves (though no one else in my family does!), or a braised meat version for a lovely, if rich, change.
- These quantities make a lot of cannelloni. I’m happy with that because it’s a bit time consuming and I like having extra. You can refrigerate or freeze the prepared, uncooked dish – it’ll keep for a day or two in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer, as long as it’s well covered.
Calories: 710kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 1487mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 9004IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 625mg | Iron: 8mg