Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

Use a teaspoon to stuff the mixture into the tubes.


Tomato sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1–2 garlic cloves, chopped

400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

White sauce

50 g (1¾ oz) butter

50 g (1¾ oz/⅓ cup) plain (all-purpose)flour

750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) milk

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


450 g (1 lb) English spinach , stems removed, chopped (trimmed weight 360 g/12¾ oz )

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2–3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

350 g (12 oz) ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

16 dried cannelloni tubes , about 10 cm (4 inches) long x 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide (total weight about 175 g/6 oz)

125 g (4 oz/1 cup) grated mozzarella

60 g (2¼ oz/½ cup) coarsely grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease an ovenproof dish measuring about 20 x 26 x 6 cm (8 x 10½ x 2½ inches).

2. To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2–3 minutes. Add the tomato, tomato paste, sugar and 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly, then stir in the basil.

3. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth. Return to the heat and stir until thick. Add the nutmeg and simmer for 3 minutes, or until the sauce boils and thickens. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. To make the filling, put the spinach and 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water in a large saucepan. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted, then refresh under cold water. Squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands and chop finely. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, egg and nutmeg and combine with a fork. Stir through the spinach. Spoon into the cannelloni tubes.

5. Spread half of the white sauce onto the base of the dish then drizzle over half of the tomato sauce. Arrange the filled cannelloni tubes evenly in a single layer. Top with the remaining white sauce then tomato sauce and sprinkle on the cheeses. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked. Stand for 10 minutes before serving.