Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni (1)

Here we have a meal which is suspiciously similar in both method and look to last night’s offering (Vegetable Enchiladas); not in taste though! It also bears a significant resemblance to my Spinach, Tomato and Goats Cheese Cannelloni – however, I’ve gone for ricotta over goats cheese because I fancied the softer, more delicate taste tonight as opposed to tangy goats cheese.

I’ve made this for two reasons – 1. it snowed a bit and it was cold so I needed comfort food. The snow is gone now, as though it were never here, but I still want the cannelloni. 2. My husband was supposed to go and pick up a new car, but because of the aforementioned snow cancelled his collection, so I wanted to make something to cheer him up (unbeknown to me, the collection was later reinstated, so now we are having it for a third reason – to celebrate the arrival of the brand new car).

Anyway, back to the recipe – give it a go; it is desperately straightforward and the use of fresh lasagne sheets rather than dried cannelloni tubes also makes it surprisingly fast to make. What’s not to like?

This will serve 4, and takes 40 minutes to make.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni (2)

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

200g spinach

1/2 tsp nutmeg

500g ricotta

12 fresh lasagne sheets

400g chopped tomatoes

1 handful cherry tomatoes

10g grated parmesan (or veggie alternative)

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

2. Chop the onion and add to a frying/saute pan with the olive oil. Saute for 1-2 minutes, then gradually add the spinach until it is all completely wilted. Stir in the nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Leave to cool for 3-4 minutes.

3. Break up the ricotta in a large bowl, and stir in the spinach. Take your fresh lasagne sheets one at a time, and lay a large spoonful of the ricotta mix along one end of the lasagne. Roll it up around the ricotta, then lay in a large oven proof dish. Repeat for the rest of the lasagne sheets.

4. Pour the chopped tomatoes evenly over the cannelloni (you probably won’t cover them completely, but that’s fine. Sprinkle over the halved cherry tomatoes and grated parmesan.

5. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the pasta is cooked and the parmesan is golden.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni (3)

Gnudi with Tomato and Black Olive Sauce

I watched Jamie Oliver do a recipe for Gnudi on his Comfort Food series; before this I’d never heard of it before and I liked what I saw – it sounded delicious and so we’ve tried it as soon as possible.

Gnudi are essentially balls of ricotta which have been covered in semolina – the semolina dries out the ricotta to form a crust around the outside, which then makes the balls strong enough to withstand cooking in boiling water.

They’re a little tricky to make – you have to leave them for a long time, so I made mine last night ready to cook this evening, and they are quite delicate so you must be careful when cooking them. But you will be rewarded; they are scrummy!

Jamie served his Gnudi with a sage butter, which sounds gorgeous, but I decided to inject a bit of 5-a-day into mine and tried to make it a little healthier for a mid-week meal. Serve with crusty bread on the side, and enjoy!

This will serve 4, and takes 15 minutes each evening plus the time in the fridge.

Gnudi with Tomato and Black Olive Sauce

For the Gnudi:

1kg ricotta

50g grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Approx 150g semolina

For the sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

180g jar of pitted black olives

6 anchovy fillets

1 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 small handful basil

1. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg well.

2. Take a tray and cover with a layer of the semolina. With your hands, form the ricotta into small balls about 1.5 inches wide, roll in a plate of semolina and place on the tray. Sprinkle over more semolina when you have finished; you want to make sure each ball has been covered well. Place in the fridge overnight.

3. To make the sauce, chop the onion and place in a saute pan with the olive oil. Cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the anchovy fillets and olives. Crush the olives with your wooden spoon, and continue cooking until the anchovy fillets have almost disintegrated.

4. Tip in the tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes, then season and stir in the chopped basil.

5. To cook the gnudi, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Gently place the gnudi in the water (it is best to cook them in small batches) and boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

6. Layer gnudi in each person’s bowl and pour over the sauce. Bellissimo!