Let the fun continue! This week's What's Cooking Wednesday is another remnant of the Calabrian Women's Summit this past weekend. At Cherrye's, we ate some delicious ricotta and spinach tortellini, and I casually mentioned that I had been wanting to make ricotta and spinach cannelloni.
So Cherrye's fiancé, Peppe, printed me out a recipe on the spot, and other than the dash of nutmeg, it's what you see below. It's really easy, but it is a little time-consuming with all the filling of the cannelloni--about an hour and a half from start to finish (40 minutes of that is cooking time, though).
I was happy to hear that Peppe didn't recommend putting besciamella over the whole thing, because although I love creamy things, P would never go for it. I made a quick, basic tomato sauce for on top, but you can also use your favorite jarred sauce (rumor has it).
Cannelloni with Ricotta & Spinach (Cannelloni ricotta e spinaci)
400 g chopped spinach
500 g ricotta
30 g grated parmegiano reggiano
1 egg yolk
Salt to taste
Dash of nutmeg
If you're making your own sauce, start that first; if you are using a jarred sauce, you can wait until after you chopped the spinach to heat it up.
I used frozen spinach, which comes in small cubes here (not sure about anywhere else as I've only bought it here); this makes it very easy to chop finely while still frozen--especially if you have a mezzaluna. If you use fresh spinach instead of frozen, you'll need to boil it and then be sure it's completely cooled off before adding it to the ricotta.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, egg yolk, salt, and grated cheese. I should mention here that I used cannelloni shells that require no pre-cooking; they can be placed straight into the oven. So, in that case, the next step would be to put a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the cannelloni and then fill the shells with the mixture, placing each completed cannelloni in the pan. Oh, and only put them in one flat layer.
If you use cannelloni shells that must be pre-cooked, boil them before you fill them; be sure to leave them a little more than al dente because they will be cooking more in the oven.
Put another thin layer of sauce over the cannelloni and grate cheese on top. Then place the dish in the oven and bake at 390°F (200°C) for about 40 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving, and then dig in.