I'm known for cooking simple and quick recipes. I like to cook but I don't enjoy spending long hours in the kitchen. My everyday recipes are quick and straight forward, usually ready in about 30 minutes. However, there are days when I 'push' myself to cook something special and a bit more complicated.
This weekend, we had friends over, and with rainy and cold weather I felt like a nice comfort pasta dish would be the perfect thing for a dinner menu. Lasagne and cannelloni fall into my 'special occasion' recipes category as they require slightly more effort. I haven't had cannelloni in years so I decided to combine my favourite spinach & ricotta ravioli recipe with cannelloni pasta. When it comes to pasta I make no compromises. If I don't have time to make my own fresh homemade pasta, I use only the best dried pasta. I can't make cannelloni at home so I used Barilla, one of my favourite pasta brands, tested and recommended by many Italians.
Apart from sharing the recipe, I also wanted to let you know that Barilla is running an exciting competition, giving away a £1,000 voucher to use towards a weekend trip to Italy for 2! To enter, you need to post a picture of a pasta dish on Barilla UK's Facebook page or on Instagram using the hashtag #OutsidetheBox and #BarillaUK. I just came back from Italy two weeks ago, but I'd go back instantly! I'm still dreaming of all the delicious pasta dishes, fresh mozzarella and amazing Italian wine!
So finally, here's the recipe.
Spinach And Ricotta Cannelloni With Creamy Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
600g fresh spinach
2x 125g soft goat cheese
40g grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
2x 400g chopped tomatoes
2tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
18 tubes Barilla cannelloni
1 tbsp pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Heat a table spoon of olive oil over low heat in a large skillet. Add the spinach, cover with a lid and let it wilt. You may want to do this in batches if your skillet is not large enough. Stir it occasionally until all the spinach has cooked down. Transfer into a bowl and let it cool slightly.
In the same skillet, add another table spoon of olive oil and chopped onions. Cook the onions for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add chopped garlic, tomatoes and vinegar, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out most of the liquid into to a bowl and roughly chop the spinach. Return it to the boil with the liquid, add ricotta, one goat cheese, 1/2 of grated parmesan and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread half of the tomato sauce over the bottom of an oven proof dish (25x30cm). Spoon the spinach mixture into a piping bag or a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off and fill all the cannelloni tubes. Lay them in the baking dish and spread the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Scatter over the second goat cheese and remaining parmesan and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Disclaimer: this recipe was created in collaboration with Barilla pasta. All opinions are my own.