Here is my recipe for Vegetarian Cannelloni using two fillings of Tomato & Basil Quorn Mince and Spinach & Ricotta! I have been desperate to experiment with homemade fresh pasta for ages and I finally got round to doing it last week. I hadn’t made pasta from scratch before doing this, so this was quite exciting for me – I never knew how easy the fresh pasta recipe was! Once again, I threw myself into the deep end not realising how strenuous hand-rolling pasta could be! Thanks to the generosity of a family friend, I was able to borrow a pasta rolling machine last minute! So make sure you have one of these if you are going to make the Cannelloni from scratch like me. Alternatively, you can buy Cannelloni pasta rolls from your local supermarket which will cut down your prep time. However, the idea of knowing exactly what goes into my dishes is what drives my passion and satisfaction of home cooking. So if you’ve got the time, it’s definitely worth having a go yourself! This is a fun dish for your kids to get involved with too! I’ll be experimenting more with fresh pasta in the future so keep an eye out! This recipe provides enough Cannelloni for a family of five if you’re serving it on its own, but it can go further if you’re serving it with a selection of sides. It all depends on how hungry you are! There are four parts to this dish so I’ve listed the ingredients and method for each first, then I have outlined the method for assembling the Cannelloni at the end. This turned out to be a really tasty dish so I wanted to share the recipe with you all – I hope you enjoy it!
Prep Time: 1.5 hours | Cooking Time: 30 mins | Serves: 5-8
Fresh Cannelloni Pasta:
300g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Ensure your hands are clean and that you have a large surface area for making the fresh pasta (e.g. your kitchen or dining room table).
Measure the flour out and place in a pile on a clean surface.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack all 3 eggs into it. Then sprinkle over a pinch of salt (see pictures).
Using a fork, whisk the egg in the middle and then begin to gradually incorporate the flour. Then using your hands, combine the rest of the flour to make dough.
At first the dough will seem quite firm but by kneading the dough by hand for roughly 5 minutes, it will eventually become smooth, soft and bouncy. Make it into a ball and wrap it in cling film. Leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Cut a quarter of your dough and flatten it into a rectangular shape. Using a pasta rolling machine, roll the dough out over and over using the techniques shown in this first video. Pasta rolling machines have different number settings, often ranging from 1 – 9 (but they do vary so double check the settings on yours). When you start to roll your pasta, you will begin with setting 1 (widest). After every few rolls, you want to keep applying the folding techniques you see in this second video (watch from 5:27), sprinkling your dough with a little flour, and increasing the setting by 1 each time until you eventually reach the setting 8 or 9. When your pasta is approximately 1mm thick, trim the ends straight and cut it into 4 equal rectangular pieces (approx. 5” x 8”).
Repeat the above step for each quarter piece of your dough, so you should be left with 16 equal sheets of Cannelloni pasta! Leave to one side on your table.
Tomato and Basil Quorn Mince Filling:
2 tablespoons of Rapeseed/Olive oil
1 White onion, diced
1 large garlic clove (or 2 small), crushed
1 x 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
400g Quorn Mince
2 Vine Tomatoes, diced
A handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, roughly chopped
A pinch of Salt
A good grinding of Black Pepper
2 pinches of Italian Spices
2 heaped teaspoons of Tomato Puree
½ teaspoon of Bouquet Garni Mixed herbs
On a chopping board, prepare your ingredients and leave to one side.
In a large pan, fry the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil on a medium-high heat.
Once the onions and garlic have sweltered and softened, add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Using a dash of water, collect any tomato residue left in the tin and add this to the pan too. The water will help build up a good sauce. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and place the ingredients in a blender. Blitz it for roughly 10 seconds, then leave to one side. Doing this will break down the ingredients to form a smoother sauce but will still maintain some of the lovely texture.
In the same pan, fry the Quorn mince in 1 tablespoon of oil and a little water on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the mince as you go.
When the mince has browned and softened, stir in your fresh vine tomatoes.
Then stir in the sauce from the blender. As you did with the tinned tomatoes, you can use a dash of water to collect up any remaining residue at the bottom of the blender jug.
Mix in the fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper, Italian spices, tomato puree and Bouquet Garni mixed herbs.
Cook for 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Then leave to one side.
Spinach & Ricotta Filling:
1 teaspoon Rapeseed Oil
Pinch of grated Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
A few grinds of Black Pepper
20g (1 tablespoon) Grated Parmesan
Using a low heat, cook the spinach in a large pan with a drizzle of oil and a dash of water. Add a seasoning of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover with a lid and leave to sweat.
Once the spinach has softened, steamed through and reduced in size place it in a bowl and leave to cool.
In a separate bowl, measure out and add both your Ricotta and Parmesan.
Once the spinach has cooled, squeeze all the juice out of it and place it onto a chopping board. Here, I found it helpful using a spoon and tea strainer – using the spoon to apply pressure to squeeze the juice through the strainer bit by bit. Leave the bowl of spinach juice to one side.
Finely chop up your spinach on the chopping board and add it to the bowl with the Ricotta and Parmesan. Add three tablespoons of spinach juice and mix the ingredients together using a fork.
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of plain flour
80g of cheddar cheese
10g of grated Parmesan
450ml of Milk
¼ of Nutmeg, finely grated
1 heaped teaspoon of green Pesto
Pinch of Salt
A few grinds of Black Pepper
Measure out your milk in a measuring jug and leave to one side.
In a medium sized cooking pot (non-stick will help), melt the butter on a medium-high heat.
Take off the heat and sift in your flour, mixing as you go until it forms a thick paste.
Whisk in a dash of milk to loosen up and mix the ingredients, forming a smoother and whiter paste.
Add 200ml of Milk and return the pot to a low heat.
Mix in the pesto, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Stir in another 100ml of milk as well as your cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Continually stir the sauce on a low heat until the cheeses have melted and the sauce begins to thicken, gradually adding the rest of the milk as you go (100ml at a time.) You will end up with a deliciously tasting Béchamel sauce.
125g Mozarella Ball, teared.
1 Vine tomato, thinly sliced.
Time to assemble the Cannelloni…
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
- Fill a cooking pot with kettle-boiled water and a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil on the hob. Lower the heat and cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. You can do this in batches of 4 sheets at a time, or fewer depending on the size of your pot. Ensure they don’t stick to each other and when cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a clean surface to cool.
- Evenly spoon a generous layer of Béchamel sauce across the bottom of an oven dish (approx. 32cm x 26cm in size). Leave to one side.
- Take a sheet of pasta and spoon an equal share (1/16) of the Quorn mince filling along the short edge. Then top with a fair share of the spinach and ricotta filling. Roll up the cannelloni sheet ensuring the filling stays neatly inside. Do this for each piece of cannelloni, placing them horizontally one after the other in the oven dish, leaving you with eight down each side of the dish (see pictures.)
- Spoon over the remaining Béchamel sauce; then top with ripped pieces of Mozarella, a generous grating of Parmesan, slices of fresh vine tomato and a sprinkling of black pepper.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes, and cook until it has turned golden and crispy.
- Clean up and prepare the table.
- Divide among your plates with a side salad and/or my No-Mayo Slaw.
- Serve and Enjoy!