There are few dishes more comforting than baked pasta, and this one provides all the satisfying warmth you want on a cold day, while also embracing the first tendrils of spring. This simple sugo-based dish takes on a new dimension with the salad tumbled over the top. Fresh broad beans are always the first ingredient to reset my seasonal mindset.
24 cannelloni shells
1 cup double-podded broad beans
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
250g smoked mozzarella, sliced
50g parmesan, finely grated
10 mint leaves, torn
zest of ½ lemon, finely grated
extra virgin olive oil
For the filling
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200g bocconcini, finely diced
150g firm feta, crumbled
100g parmesan, finely grated
3 dill sprigs, fronds chopped
½ large nutmeg, finely grated
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
120ml extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried mint
1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).
2. For the filling, combine the ricotta and egg in a large bowl. Add the bocconcini, feta, 100g parmesan, dill and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and combine. Using a piping bag with a large nozzle, fill the cannelloni shells.
3. For the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant and just changing colour. Add the passata, tomato and a cup of water, and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
4. Add the sugar and dried mint to the sauce, season with salt and pepper and take off the heat. Stir through half of the broad beans and half of the peas.
5. Spread half of the sauce across the base of a 30cm x 24cm baking dish. Arrange the cannelloni on top of the sauce, then spoon over the remaining sauce. Scatter over the mozzarella and 50g parmesan. Cover with baking paper, then foil, and bake for 25 minutes; then remove the baking paper and foil and bake for another 10 minutes to brown.
6. For the salad, dress the reserved broad beans and peas (refreshed if frozen, or blanched for 1 minute if fresh), mint leaves and lemon zest with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
7. Tip the salad over the cooked cannelloni. Serve immediately – don't let it sit.