Cannelloni with
Ricotta and Spinach


pasta


SPICY STUFFED PASTA

This Cannelloni with Ricotta with Spinach is delicious topped off with a spicy tomato sauce. The sauce seems to offset the sweeter flavor of the ricotta cheese and the nutmeg.

Spinach is a wonderful vegetable to mix in with the ricotta. It adds a distinct flavor to the dish and compliments the ricotta very well. Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. It’s packed with vitamins A, C and K and can be used in a variety of Italian dishes. A couple of my favorites are spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil or stuffed inside a chicken breast.

Also you could mix in a little Swiss chard, which gives the dish a little bitter flavor which also compliments the ricotta. The nutmeg and spinach always go well together. Top the cannelloni off with the spicy tomato sauce and serve with a crusty garlic bread or a foccacia bread topped with fresh herbs and olive oil.

INGREDIENTS

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  • 12 dried cannelloni
  • 1 bunch of long green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbls of butter
  • 1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound of fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and steamed
  • 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 small eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 and a half pounds of plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • PREPARATION

  • First prepare the sauce by sauteing the onions and garlic in th olive oil until tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes and simmer for 15 to 20minutes.
  • In 6 quarts of salted boiling water cook the pasta until al dente around 10 minutes, set aside to cool.
  • Steam the spinach until wilted and tender, cool down and chop.
  • In a small frying pan sauté the onions and garlic in the butter and oil for 2 minutes until tender.
  • In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, spinach, parsley, basil, Romano cheese, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper, blending with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • With a small teaspoon stuff the cannelloni with the mixture and place in a large greased baking dish.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Garnish with extra parsley. Serves 4 to 6 people.


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