1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and remove the spinach from the freezer (if using frozen) and allow to defrost on the side.
2. Prep the tomato sauce: Soften the onion in a pan in a tiny bit of oil or butter. Then add the can of chopped tomatoes (or passata for a smoother consistency) and pepper, nutmeg and puree. For a richer flavour I also add some balsamic vinegar and brown sugar but these can be omitted if you don’t have them – or for a more ‘sophisticated’ dish add a dash of red wine! Allow this to cook down and infuse on the hob for around 20 minutes.
3. Make the white sauce: This is a simple béchamel so melt the butter in a saucepan then add an equal quantity of plain flour. Stir together to make a paste then slowly add the milk until it’s all added– stirring as you go – if it becomes lumpy, don’t worry – it will not be noticeable after it’s cooked in the oven. Add pepper or nutmeg to taste.
4. To make the filling for the cannelloni simply mix a tub of ricotta with the defrosted (or cooked then strained) spinach.
5. In a large, shallow oven-proof dish, line the base with an even layer of the tomato sauce then over the top you will be placing the filled cannelloni tubes. Simply use the end of a butter knife to gently push the filling into the cannelloni tubes and place them in a row on top of the tomato sauce. Pour the béchamel over the top and then add the grated parmesan (or any other cheese).
6. Place the cannelloni in the oven for around 35-45 minutes or until the top is nice and browned off. Enjoy!
Written by Natalya
Natalya blogs over at Cottage Retreatist – A frugal living, debt busting blog following the trials and tribulations on her journey along the final stages to become debt free while living as an urban homesteader in London – Cheap healthy home cooking, jam-making and more! Follow Natalya on Twitter and Pinterest.