Cannelloni filled with spinach, creamy ricotta and thyme (serves 4)
Prep time: 15 mins Baking time: 45 mins
1 tbsp olive oil 400g chopped spinach salt and pepper pinch of nutmeg 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme 500g ricotta cheese 15 cannelloni tubes 200g fresh tomato sauce 200g béchamel sauce* 2 roasted red bell peppers, cubed 200g grated mozzarella
1 To prepare the spinach filling, heat olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until leaves are wilted and soft. Turn the heat to high to evaporate any liquid released from the spinach. Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Take the mixture off the heat and keep aside to let it cool. Once cool, mix in ricotta cheese and keep aside.
2 Preheat the oven at 180°C. Fill the cannelloni tubes with the spinach and cheese mixture.
3 To assemble, spoon about 50ml of tomato sauce at the base of a large rectangular baking dish. Place all the cannelloni tubes in a single layer on the tomato sauce. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over, ensuring that it covers the cannelloni tubes and then pour béchamel over it. Finally add bell peppers and cheese.
3 Place it in the preheated oven. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
To make béchamel sauce, heat a heavy saucepan and melt 50g butter. On low heat, stir in 3 tbsp flour with a wire whisk, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in 350ml milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat for 3-5 more minutes until sauce begins to thicken and is cooked. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
SILVENA SAYS: If you don’t have cannelloni tubes, use pasta sheets. Just spoon the filling in the centre of a sheet and roll it up