It’s coming to the time of the year again, wish everyone the loveliest holiday season! As a tradition, we’re gonna contribute another holiday vegetarian recipe, for a hearty and luscious, crowd-pleasing dinner. The ingredients list doesn’t look longer than usual. However, it would take you a little more time and money to get all the ingredients ready. But that’s what the holidays are for, right？
This stuffed spinach and ricotta pasta looks just festive with all of those red, green, and golden colors. The flavors from the simple tomato sauce and the creamy ricotta cheese get linked together by their humble big friend cannelloni. Cannelloni is a tube shaped dry pasta about 7cm long and 2cm wide, generally served baked with a filling and covered by a sauce in Italian cuisine. It’s fun to prepare too, especially when it comes to the mixing and filling steps. This dish is relatively easy to make if you have a few tricks:
1. Use a bag with the tip cut off to fill your pastas — this will get it done so quickly and with much less mess!
2. Choose the ingredients to suit your convenience. If you can’t find cannelloni pasta, what about jumbo pasta shells or lasagna sheets? Don’t like ricotta? Try cream cheese or cottage cheese! Difficult to find fresh herbs? Use dried Italian herbs instead!
3. Double the recipe to make a second batch, keep it in the freezer for the next party!
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin (400g) diced tomatoes
a bunch of fresh basil and parsley
1 large egg, beaten
250g Ricotta cheese
60g Parmesan cheese, grated
120g Cannelloni, about 12 tubes
1. Heat the oven to 190℃. Prepare a pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and gently sweat the onion, garlic and a handful of herbs until soft. Add in diced tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Heat some oil in another pan and gently cook the garlic for a minute. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. When it cools down, chop into small pieces.
3. Mix the chopped spinach in the ricotta, season with salt and nutmeg. Add the egg and half of the parmesan cheese in the mixture, stir well. Pipe the mixture into the cannelloni tubes.
4. Place the tomato sauce in a baking dish. Lay the stuffed cannelloni in the sauce, make sure they are evenly spaced apart and most parts are dipped with the sauce.
5. Cover the dish with foil, bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle some herbs and the rest of parmesan on top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with the remaining herbs.