The Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni with tomato sauce are a timeless classic of Italian cuisine, loved by young and elderly people. If you are looking for a perfect dish to put on the table on Sunday, when the whole family comes together, cannelloni with ricotta and spinach are just right for you. Easy to prepare, they can be prepared in advance and then heated for 5 minutes in the oven before serving.
You don’t need to be a great expert in the kitchen to make them, following our advice even those who are not practical will do very well!
For the cannelloni with ricotta and spinach, the first thing you will have to deal with is the preparation of the fresh pasta: form a fountain with the flour, beat the eggs slowly add them to the flour, work the mixture in such a way as to incorporate the ingredients well.
Spread the flour and egg mixture on the work surface, knead well with your hands, form a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap and put it to rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
At this point prepare the béchamel: in a saucepan, melt the butter, as soon as the butter has melted, add all the flour in the saucepan together with the melted butter at once; with the help of a whisk, let the melted butter and the flour completely absorb and let it lightly toast.
Pour the milk flush into the saucepan (if it is possible heat it previously a little), continue stirring with the whisk to avoid the formation of lumps, add salt, pepper and season with a pinch of nutmeg. Continue to stir with the whisk until the milk has boiled and the mixture begins to thicken to form the béchamel.
As soon as the bechamel is ready, remove it from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool it.
At this point, prepare the seasoning of the ricotta and spinach cannelloni: in a saucepan, sauté a minced onion with oil, pour the tomato sauce, add salt and if you also like a pinch of pepper, let it cook and shrink slightly.
While the seasoning is cooking, prepare the stuffing of the cannelloni: chop the spinach previously, blanched and squeezed with a knife; transfer them to a bowl with the ricotta, flavor the mixture, with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and pinch of salt.
To add further flavor to the filling, add a pinch of nutmeg, mix all the ingredients well. At this point, transfer the mixture into a piping bag and put it in the refrigerator until ready for use.
Take back your egg dough that will have rested and reached the right elasticity and divide it into four parts.
If you have a dough roll machine, pull each part of the dough with the dough sheeter up to number 8, in order to obtain a sheet about 2 mm thick. In the absence of the machine, you can roll out the dough by hand, using a lightly floured rolling pin. Make rectangles 9X14 cm, or in any case taking into account the width of your pan.
Boil the water in a large enough pot. Dip the squares of fresh pasta one at a time for about a minute, no more, then drain with a slotted spoon and leave them to dry on a cotton cloth.
Take the piping bag and fill each square of pasta by placing the filling in the center, roll the dough to form cylinders.
Sprinkle the bottom of a baking dish with 4 spoons of béchamel and place the cannelloni on top.
Season the ricotta and spinach cannelloni with the tomato sauce, the left bechamel and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for about 30 minutes.
Once the cooking time has passed, take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit before serving.
You can prepare the cannelloni in advance and freeze them. Heat the oven and put into it the cannelloni still frozen, before taking out check the interior with a fork and be sure that it’s very hot!
For the dough you can choose three different ways: start from scratch and make the egg dough by yourself, buy it already made but fresh, or you can take the ready-made dried cannelloni and just fill them with the filling you like best! In this last case it’s better to leave the tomato sauce a bit more liquid or a add a little water.