Spinach and 7 Cheese Cannelloni

By Fongolicious - May 26, 2013

The number of different cheeses in our fridge at one time, you'll need more than a hand to keep count. For the most part, it gets eaten pretty quickly. At times you get the well aged mouldy goodness sitting at the back of the fridge waiting for a special dish, occasion or random craving. However, there are rare times cheese starts going off in our fridge. Thankfully, this wasn't one of those times and I caught this batch just in time. The ricotta and the cottage cheese had both been opened and half used, and I wanted to use it up before I had to throw it out.

I love cannelloni. Stuffed then baked pasta - what's not to love. Italian enchiladas! Or some would argue the other way around, enchiladas are Mexican cannelloni. Whatever - they're both awesome! What turned me off about making cannelloni was stuffing the cannelloni tubes, which involved piping, which is more mess than I wanted. Then I read somewhere (cannot recall where, so long as you know this idea is not unique to me) to use fresh lasagne sheets instead! Brilliant! It makes life with cannelloni so easy and you get to practise your sushi rolling technique without actually making sushi!

So below my recipe to: use up the cheeses (and mushrooms) in my fridge, eat cannelloni, warm the house with the oven on and warm our tummies.

Cannelloni Filling
375g frozen spinach, defrosted
200g fresh mushrooms, 0.5cm diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup, freshly chopped parsley leaves, roughly chopped (save the stalks for the sauce)
1 Tblspn dried basil
1 Tblspn dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
Total of 250g soft cheese I used a mix of ricotta, cottage, goat’s cheese

1 to 2 Tblspn olive oil to coat base of pan
1½ cans of crushed tomatoes (600g)
Stalks from the fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ onion, 1cm diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 Tblspn dried basil
1 Tblspn dried oregano
1 tpsn honey (or sugar)
100g fresh mushrooms, 0.5cm diced

Assembling dish
8 fresh lasagne sheets
175g shredded pizza cheese mix (Mozzarella, Cheddar & Parmesan combo)
Shredded/grated Grana Padano (or aged Parmesan hard cheese) to serve

Cannelloni Filling
1. In a large bowl combine all the above listed ingredients for the cannelloni filling. Set aside.

2. Place a medium saucepan over medium to high heat. Allow pan to heat and coat the base with oil. Add onions and cook until onions turn translucent. Stir in bay leaves, oregano, basil, parsley stalks and mushrooms. Add tomatoes and garlic. Stir to combine. Stir in honey. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavours of herbs to infuse into the tomatoes. Set aside to cool. In the meantime, assemble your cannelloni.

Assemble cannelloni
3. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a large baking tray with some olive oil.

4. Lay a lasagne sheet on a large plate or chopping board. Place about 2 to 4 tablespoonfuls of the cannelloni filling mixture across the edge of the lasagne sheet and roll until it forms a tube. Slice off the excess lasagne sheet. Place tube in greased baking tray. Repeat for the remaining mixture and sheets.

5. Pour the sauce evenly over the cannelloni. Top with shredded pizza cheese. Cover with foil and place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 15 minutes or until cheese melts and starts browning slightly. Remove from oven and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with some freshly grated Grana Padano (or aged Parmesan hard cheese).

It looks a bit like slop but it's damn good slop! 

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