Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Your Mama Would Be Proud Of!

Like most girls at university, my priorities were to get drunk often, make great friends, be part of memorable experiences, have photographic proof of said experiences, work hard, and eventually end up with a decent degree.

However, my priorities never involved cooking great meals. 

I have a tendency to block out unfortunate incidents from my memory so I cannot really remember what I ate to stay alive throughout my first year at university.. But I know it wasn't good.

However, in my second year of university, I saw the light.

I moved from my university housing in Surrey to London halls (or dorms for you Americano's) where I met a dear friend, Vahini, who gave me my first insight into the wonderful world of cooking. The first thing she taught me how to make was an unnamed dish, (which we later aptly named 'The Vahini'). 

The Vahini was a combination of tagliatelle, prawns, a vegetable oxo cube, Italian seasoning, milk, and a touch of water. It may not sound it, but it was subliminal and so quick and easy to make.

After that day, my journey into the cooking kingdom started and I haven't really stopped since.

On a Sunday, all I really crave is a sturdy home-cooked meal packed with flavour. Since my boyfriend is Italian and his mum is always giving me tips on how to cook Italian food like a real mama (by that I mean packed with a punch), a spinach and ricotta cannelloni is just what we needed to brighten up this rainy, dreary and cold Sunday.

Here's what you'll need to feed four:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
250ml chopped tomatoes or passata
300g ready, washed, baby-leaf spinach
1 250g tub of ricotta cheese
1 egg
25g parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons of nutmeg
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 vegetable oxo cubes
1 chicken or beef oxo cube
250g cannelloni tubes (about 20 tubes)
125g mozzarella ball (I used Sainsbury's be good to yourself mozzarella to stick to my weight watchers point value, but feel free to use any brand)
100g cheddar cheese (Again, I used a weight watchers brand of cheddar cheese to stick to my points value, but feel free to use any type of cheddar you like)
Salt and black pepper

Step One - Chop up your onion/garlic into a few pieces and put into a chopper.

Step Two: Hit the turbo power button and chop these bad boys into smithereens!

Step Three: Put the oil into a pot and fry the onions/garlic until they're softened. Measure 250ml of the chopped tomatoes/passata and add to the pot. 

Step Four: Heat up water in a kettle. Add all the oxo cubes into the same measuring jug and add 1/2 litre of hot water. Stir and add into the pot.

Step Five: Add your key ingredient into the pot - Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon of the nutmeg - and keep stirring!

Step Six: While your tomato sauce is bubbling away and letting off some delicious aromas, here's what you need to do as it simmers for 25-30 minutes on medium heat. 

Tear your spinach into small pieces into a large bowl and add all of the ricotta cheese, the egg, 70g of the cheddar cheese, all of the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Mix with a fork vigorously. 

You should end up with a mixture that looks something like this:

Step Seven: Use the back end of a spoon to spoon the mixture into all the cannelloni tubes. Don't be too generous in each tube as you'll run out of the mixture too early! Grease a baking tray with a tiny bit of oil or butter and place the tubes into the tray.

 Step Eight: Pour the tomato sauce all over the cannelloni tubes. Make sure all the tubes are drenched.

Step Nine: Add the remaining 30g of the leftover cheddar cheese, as well as all of the mozzarella evenly all over the top of the tubes.

Step Ten: Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven marked at 180 degrees (mark 4), or 160 degrees in a fan assisted oven. The finished product should be golden and bubbling. 

Alex likes his cannelloni crispy at the edges so we grilled it for the last 6-7 minutes of the cooking time.

 Dig in and enjoy your little taste of Italy - something your mama would be proud of!



  1. on a real beeks why not just write a book :D

  2. That was a recipe taken ut from a girl is multitalented! Xx Mom