Cannelloni With Spinach and Ricotta: An Easy Dinner Idea

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Cannelloni With Spinach and RicottaThe Best Italian Sunday Meal

Cannelloni are, in essence, pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach or cooked mince meats.

Although Italy’s history of pasta goes back to the 4th century BC, cannelloni seems to be a bit younger. Their origin traced around the 8th century CE, in the Etruscan times. There are mentions of this dish in Toscana and Campania around the same time, even if there is some distance between the two regions.

Today, all supermarkets sell packs of dry tubes, and this saves time in cooking cannelloni. Nevertheless, the Italians praise themselves for making fresh pasta for all occasions; they will probably go for the longer cooking time, the more caloric result and the unique taste of homemade food.

This recipe sticks with quick and easy, as always. If you have some time you want to kill and want to give it a try, here is an original Italian recipe for fresh pasta published by Italy’s most successful cooking website, Giallo Zafferano.

The choice is yours, but have a look at this comparison chart before you make a decision:

Dry Cannelloni/100g                                                           Homemade pasta/100g

Calories 357                                                                            Calories 130

Carbohydrate 79.3g                                                                Carbohydrate 23.5g

Protein 7.5g                                                                             Protein 5.3g

Fat 2.1g (Saturated 0.3g)                                                        Fat 1.7 (Saturated 0.4g)

Sodium 3mg                                                                            Sodium 83mg

Keep in mind that if you make fresh pasta, it will weigh around 400g, so the above values multiply at least four times. Homemade pasta is yummier, but it adds to calories.

What you need for six portions of Cannelloni with spinach and Ricotta:

cannelloni with spinach and ricotta ingredients

One pack dry cannelloni (26 tubes)

500 g ricotta cheese

400 g fresh spinach

Three eggs

4-5 garlic cloves

One glass of white wine

200 g hard cheese (grated)

One tin of tomatoes (blended) or one jar of passata

Spices: salt, ground pepper, ground nutmeg

How to make Cannelloni:

filled cannelloni tubes in tray

First, make a test with the tubes, see how they fill the tray you will use and how many pieces you need in total. Of a 250g box that contained 27 tubes, I used 26 that fitted my 25X36 cm tray perfectly.

Preheat the oven to maximum 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5.

Wash and drain the spinach. Fill a saucepan with half a litre of water (two cups approximately). When the water starts boiling, add the spinach and simmer for 20-30 seconds until it softens.

Cool the spinach under cold water to stop it from boiling and preserve the vivid green colour.

Place the entire quantity of ricotta in a bowl, add the battered eggs, the cooled spinach, the smashed garlic, plus the spices and mix to incorporate well all the ingredients.

With this paste, fill the pasta tubes using a teaspoon. If you prefer, you can use a piping bag or place the paste in a plastic bag, cut a small piece at one of the corners to make a hole and fill the tubes one by one. I used a teaspoon, but I appreciate that a bag would make this process less messy.

Place the tubes in the baking tray as you fill them. If you have any spare paste, spread it on top, then spread the entire quantity of tomato puree over it. Lastly, pour the glass of wine on the sides; together with the tomato puree, it will soak the pasta tubes during cooking.

Place the tray on the middle rake and cook for about 40 minutes. When it is nearly ready, add the grated cheese and leave it another five minutes in the oven.

On this occasion, the only cheese I had in the fridge was a Provolone Picante semi-hard cheese with a strong aroma. A fussy eater that makes a third of my family was offended by the strong smell. I ignored them. Twenty minutes later, they licked the plate clean. Ha!

When it cools a tad, this easy version of cannelloni with spinach and ricotta is ready to serve.

Because we only ate half of it for dinner, I kept the other half in the fridge and reheated it the next day. It was still yummy!

Baked cannelloni with spinach and ricotta

Pour a glass of whatever white wine you used in the preparation and enjoy your dinner. Buon appetito!

This recipe is an example of an easier and healthier way to make cannelloni. If you feel like going for the full Italian recipe, you can find here how to make the béchamel sauce to add over the pasta tubes before they go in the oven.

You will still have to add the tomato puree over the béchamel layer and, of course, follow Giallo Zafferano’s video instructions for fresh pasta mentioned in a link at the beginning of this recipe.

Spinach and ricotta are just one way of filling the cannelloni. However, as with any pasta, this one is too a versatile recipe. If meat is your thing, you can prepare a completely different dinner!

cannelloni with spinach and ricotta

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni is a light meal loved by young and old alike and typically a Sunday meal in Italy. But we love it any time!
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 portions

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Mixin bowl+spatula
  • Baking tray 25X36 cm
  • Piping bag or teaspoon

Ingredients
  

  • 26 pcs cannelloni tubes 1 pack
  • 400 g fresh spinach organic
  • 500 g Ricotta cheese 2 packs
  • 200 g hard cheese grated
  • 3 pcs eggs organic
  • 1 glass white wine dry
  • 4-5 pcs garlic cloves organic
  • 1 tin organic chopped tomatoes (blended) or organic passata jar
  • 1 tsp spices (rock/sea salt, black ground pepper, ground nutmeg ) 1 tsp of each

Instructions
 

  • Place empty tubes in the tray to check how they feet and establish how many you will need.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/338°F/gas mark 3
  • Wash and drain the spinach.
  • Place two cups of cold water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add the spinach, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 seconds until it softens.
  • Cool the spinach under cold water to stop it from boiling and preserve the vivid green colour. Drain.
    cannelloni ingredients
  • In a large bowl, empty the Ricotta packs, add the battered eggs, cooled spinach, smashed garlic and spices. Mix well.
  • Use a piping bag or a teaspoon to fill the cannelloni tubes with this paste.
  • Place the filled tubes in the tray. If you have any left-over paste, spread it on top of the tubes.
  • Spread the puréed tomatoes over the tubes.
    cannelloni in tray
  • Pour a glass of white wine on the side of the tubes; together with the tomato purée, it will help soak the pasta tubes during cooking.
  • Place the tray on the middle rack in the oven and nake for 40 minutes.
  • Five minutes before the time is up, remove the tray from the oven, add the grated hard cheese and bake for the remainder of the time.
  • When ready, allow a few minutes to slightly cool, then serve, preferably with a glass of white wine.
    baked cannelloni

Notes

Cannelloni with spinach and Ricotta cheese is best fresh but can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of three days, covered with aluminium foil. You could also store them in the freezer for up to two months. Defrost and reheat before serving.
Keyword cannelloni, easy meals, Italian meals, spinach and ricotta cannelloni

Cannelloni With Spinach and RicottaThe Best Italian Sunday Meal


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27 Responses

  1. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Fantastic! I’m going to make this for dinner. Thanks for this lovely recipe.

  2. Brianna says:

    5 stars
    Cheesy pasta with red sauce, this is my kind of comfort food! This cannelloni was super easy to make too!.

  3. Jill says:

    5 stars
    So delicious! My kids really loved it and I loved that there was extra veggies in there!!

  4. Jerika says:

    This is an easy dinner idea indeed!:) I can’t wait to try it over the weekend. Thanks!:)

  5. Lindsay says:

    5 stars
    I adore this recipe, and specifically love making a double batch and freezing for later! Well done, as always.

  6. Ksenia says:

    5 stars
    This is a cheesy celebration!

  7. Chef Dennis says:

    5 stars
    We are going to have this for dinner tonight! Yum!

  8. Oscar says:

    5 stars
    I love cannelloni. They turned out so good

  9. Sue says:

    5 stars
    This looks so deliciously cheesy!

  10. Pam Greer says:

    5 stars
    No need to go out to eat when you can make this delicious pasta right at home!

  11. Paris says:

    5 stars
    I made this with vegan ricotta and it was smashing!

  12. Kristina says:

    5 stars
    I like recipes where I can sneak those greens for my kids. This one fooled them! Thanks.

  13. Ramona says:

    5 stars
    This made a superb dinner! Will make it again. Thanks for sharing.

  14. 5 stars
    Spinach and ricotta is my absolute favourite filling for cannelloni! Yours look amazing.

  15. Kylie says:

    5 stars
    Yum! This is one of our favourite dinners!

  16. This is one of my favourite meal, that I do not make often enough, due to my daughter now liking stuffed pasta or red sauce. You’re recipe is making me so hungry this morning!

  17. Gabriela Herrera says:

    Looks absolutely delicious and totally can be veganized.

  18. Sandra Ans says:

    Actually, I have never tried to make Cannelloni but I would love to! This recipe looks very easy and super yummy! Thank you for sharing it!

  19. glowyshoe says:

    Oh this looks really yummy… Now craving for this dish.. Thanks for sharing

    http://www.glowyshoes.com

  20. Abby says:

    This looks absolutely delicious! And i love that it’s such a short prep time.

  21. Huy Hoa says:

    Will try this recipe this weekend. Thank you so much

  22. Jeannie says:

    Interesting recipe! Always love a good pasta meal, my carbo-load 🙂 I will try to find this kind of pasta noodles and do something similar will have to find vegan cheese. 🙂 Thank you for sharing

  23. Alyssa says:

    This recipe looks so good! I love a good Italian meal and I’m sure this one does not disappoint. Lasagna is one of my favorite foods and this has similar ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

  24. hari says:

    wow! love this.
    I am amazed at how easy it is to prepare.
    yes, Italian is the best. 100 percent agree.
    thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

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