Thursday 18 January 2018


Lorraine Fitzmaurice

This dish will impress friends and family. It will have them asking for more. Serves 4


12 tubes of cannelloni

25g vegetarian-style Parmesan cheese

For the tomato sauce

Extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 carrot, diced (approximately 85g)

350g passata

Half a tsp dried basil or dried oregano

Sea salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

For the filling

500g spinach leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced small

Sea salt


175g ricotta cheese


Make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a pot and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the garlic and the carrot and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the passata, add the dried basil and a good pinch of sea salt. Pour in 350ml water. Cover and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the sauce and season with sea salt and pepper.

Make the filling. Wash the spinach and remove any thick stalks. Chop finely. Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the spinach. If all the spinach doesn't fit in the pot at first, allow part of it to start sweating and gradually add the rest. Add 2 tbsps water, cover and cook the spinach for 10 minutes. Check the spinach as it is cooking, stirring occasionally. When the spinach is cooked, place in a colander to drain. Set aside to cool.

Place the cooled spinach into a bowl and add the ricotta cheese. Mix well. Season with sea salt. Grate the nutmeg into the spinach mix to taste. Use an oven-proof dish, 30 x 27cm. Preheat oven to Gas 5/190°C/375°F.

To fill the cannelloni tubes, I just use my fingers. Take portions of the spinach and ricotta filling and push it into the tubes, filling them fully. Fill all 12 tubes.

Pour 1 ladlefull of tomato sauce on to the bottom of the dish. Arrange the filled tubes of cannelloni on top, allowing 3 tubes per person. Ladle the tomato sauce over the cannelloni. Finely grate the Parmesan-style cheese and sprinkle over the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

TIP: If using frozen spinach, use 375g. Defrost and drain in a colander and follow the method above.

Irish Independent

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