“ITALIANS DO IT BETTER”.
Who remembers those t-shirts with that logo emblazoned all over it?
I certainly do. Mainly because Madonna herself made it slightly famous.
Let’s ignore fashion for a moment and focus on that statement in relation to food.
When I featured my artichokes with spaghetti ages ago, I explained that when I “dramatically” (I am Greek after all!) moved out of home, my neighbour was an Italian lady who taught me to appreciate regional Italian food.
She was fiercly proud of her Neapolitan roots yet she cooked a variety of regional Italian dishes in her home.
The best part was that I got to sample many of her fine creations and learnt a few things in the process.
The one dish that intrigued me the most was her spinach and ricotta cannelloni.
She painstakingly rolled out her dough (by hand) and would effortlessly fill them with such precision and experience!
I was in awe!
Now I can tell you I’ve had some dodgy cannelloni over the years in restaurants. Bland sauces, overdone bechamels and uncooked pasta are the usual culprits for such bad experiences.
I’ll be honest and say right now that the “pasta machine I just had to buy” is sitting in a cupboard somewhere gathering dust.
Is it cheating that I used pre made cannelloni tubes?
I don’t think so.
They’re convenient and certainly work wonders. Just make sure you have enough sauce to ensure the cannelloni do not end up tasting like a rubber tyre.
For this recipe I opted to use a creme fraiche sauce to cover the spinach and ricotta cannelloni.
I took the idea from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
The creme fraiche gets mixed with anchovies and greated Parmesan and works a lot better than bechamel. (I can’t believe I wrote that considering that I love bechamel on pastistio especially!).
I also decided to do another video as this is something I’m keen on exploring a lot further. This was shot with my little Sony Rx100, however I will be upgrading my professional DSLR in the near future so expect more videos.
I’d love to know what you think.
- 500 grams fresh spinach, washed, stalks trimmed, finely sliced
- 500 grams fresh ricotta cheese
- 75 grams freshly grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to season
- 15 cannelloni tubes (mine measured 10cm or 4")
- 1 cup good quality tomato sauce
- Creme Fraiche Sauce
- 250 grams creme fraiche
- 30 grams good quality anchovies, finely sliced
- 30 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 190 deg C
- In a large pan heat a little olive oil and cook the spinach till it wilts. Set aside.
- Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, spinach and salt and pepper.
- Spoon the ricotta mixture into a large piping bag without a nozzle and fill the cannelloni tubes.
- In a large baking dish add the tomato sauce and proceed to lay the filled cannelloni on top.
- Combine the creme fraiche, anchovies and Parmesan. Mix well and pour over the top of the cannelloni.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle a handful of Parmesan on top.
- Bake for 20-25 mins until the dish is browned and slightly bubbling.
- Allow to rest for 10 mins before serving.