Cannelloni with ricotta and spinach filling



  •  2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano or marjoram, chopped
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 kg fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, stalks chopped and leaves shredded separately
  • 2 x 400g good quality tinned plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 16 Cannelloni tubes
  • 400g ricotta cheese, crumbed
  • 200g mozzarella cheese, grated or finely sliced
  • 200g freshly grated Parmesan cheese (use in 4 portions)

For the white sauce

  • 500 ml crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Use a metal baking tray or ovenproof dish that will fit the cannelloni in one layer snuggly.
  3. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and fry one garlic clove and the onions until softened. Add the oregano and grated nutmeg. Add as much spinach as will fit into the saucepan. Keep turning it over, using a wooden spoon. It will wilt quickly so you will be able to keep adding more spinach until it has all been used. After 5 minutes of cooking set aside to cool.

 For the tomato sauce

  1. In a saucepan, add a little olive oil, the other clove of sliced garlic, your second sliced onion, basil stalks and the tomatoes, then fill one of the empty tomato tins with cold water and add this too. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the sugar, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until you get a loose tomato sauce consistency. Then take the pan off the heat and add the basil leaves. Pour into the metal baking tray evenly
  2. By now the spinach will have cooled down, so squeeze out any excess liquid, retaining about 50ml of liquid. Finely chop the spinach and add it again, to the remaining liquid. Add the ricotta and 50g (1 portion) of the Parmesan.
  3. Use a piping bag to squeeze the mixture into the cannelloni. (You can make your own piping bag by getting a sandwich bag and putting the spinach mix into the corner of it. Then twist the bag and cut the corner off.)
  4. Carefully squeeze the filling into the cannelloni tubes so that each one is filled and there are no air bubbles.
  5. Lay the cannelloni over the tomato sauce in the baking tray.

 To make the white sauce

  1. Mix together the crème fraîche, anchovies and 100g (2 portions) of the Parmesan with a little salt and pepper. Then loosen with a little water until you can spoon it over the cannelloni.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining 50 g (1 portion) Parmesan and the mozzarella, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbling.

This recipe has been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s book, ‘Jamie’s dinners.’  See  and picture courtesy of



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