Ricotta spinach cannelloni

Cannelloni incorporates oversized rigatoni pasta that Sicilians enjoy because you can stuff them with many different ingredients. One of my favorite cannelloni recipes is one using eggplant, ricotta cheese and ground veal. The one here is stuffed with spinach and ricotta, and you can use your imagination to come up with additional combinations. I love to prepare cannelloni around the holidays and include a side salad of sautéed broccoli and fennel. Cannelloni store well in the freezer for a week, so make some extra to enjoy again at a later date.

You’ll Need:

7 oz. (20 tubes) dried cannelloni
9 oz. ricotta cheese
5½ oz. frozen spinach, thawed
½ red bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2⁄3 c. vegetable broth, hot
6 basil leaves
1 qt. tomatoes, pureed
½ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Check the dried cannelloni package for directions; many varieties do not need to be precooked. If precooking is necessary, bring the pasta to a boil in a large pan of water. Add some oil, and cook the pasta for 4 minutes (it’s easier to do this in batches). In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, spinach, red bell pepper and scallions, adding a little salt and pepper to taste. Lightly butter an oven pan and stuff the cannelloni with the spinach-ricotta mixture. Place the filled cannelloni in the pan side by side. Then mix together the vegetable broth, basil and tomato puree, and pour over your cannelloni. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 25 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

Chef Bruno is PMQ’s culinary advisor, with 40 years of international pizza experience. He is the corporate chef for Marsal & Sons, and the culinary coach of the U.S. Pizza Team.