Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cannelloni - Beef, Spinach & Ricotta Filling

This is another winter favourite  of my family and I get them to eat spinach and tomato's with out much fuss!!  It is a recipe that takes  a long time to make but it makes so much you can freeze it the extra.  I also make double the white sauce because I don't like the strong bit the tomato puree can have.  I also use more cheese than they recommend.  You can alter it according to your taste.

1 tbs Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
500g Beef mince (I think Americans call this ground beef)
250g packet frozen spinach thawed (I usually use fresh spinach and about a 250g packet as well I just cut it up very thinly).
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 Egg
1/2 tsp ground oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

White Sauce
There is a white sauce recipe added to this but it is so much work and I really can't taste the difference they way they suggest, they also name it Bachamel Sauce.
1 tbs butter/margarine
1tbs Flour
1 cup milk
1 cut thickened cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tomato Sauce
425g can tomato puree
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 - 15 instant cannelloni tubes
1 cup freshly grated mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. preheat oven to 180 C.  Lightly oil large shallow casserole dish. Seth aside.

2. To make beef and spinach filling: Heat oil in frying pan.  Add onion and garlic and stir over low heat until onion is tender.  Add mince and brown well, breaking it up to a fine consistency with a fork as it cooks.  cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat.  In a small bowl, mix ricotta, egg, oregano salt and pepper.  Ad to mince mixture; Stir to combine. Set aside.

3. To make White Sauce: Melt butter. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix to form a paste.  Mix in a little bit of milk at a time to make sure no lumps form and return to heat to allow to thicken. Add cream and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

4. To make Tomato Sauce: Place all ingredients in a medium pan; stir to combine.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Spoon beef and spinach filling into piping bag and fill cannelloni tubes or you could use a teaspoon.  (Expect if you use a teaspoon to get really messy).

6. Pour some white sauce over base of casserole dish and then spoon some 1/2 of the tomato sauce over the white sauce.  Then Place the cannelloni tubes in and add remainder of the white sauce and tomato sauce. 

Put mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese over top and add a bit of paprika if you have. 

7. Bake uncovered for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.