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Baked Cannelloni with Spinach and 3 Cheese Filling!

This is a recipe that I promised to a client that I would post on my blog. You can make the pasta tubes if you like or save time and this step and buy cannelloni tubes that are oven ready. Give this one a try and let me know what you think?

Spinach and 3 Cheese Filling:

8 oz. spinach leaves that have been washed

1 Tbsp of butter

2 c. fresh ricotta

1/2 c of grated Asiago

1/2 c of shredded Mozzarella

1 egg

dash of nutmeg

1/4 tsp of salt and freshly ground pepper

in a sauté pan over med-high heat add the butter, washed spinach cook until wilted. In a separate bowl add the cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper and the egg. When the spinach is cool, chop and add to the ingredients in the bowl and mix together, set aside.

Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce)

2 tbsp of butter

2 tbsp of flour

1 1/4 c of milk

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp salt to taste

1/8 tsp white pepper

Melt the butter then add the flour and cook for a few minutes until flour and butter are combined, add the milk a little at a time constantly stirring with a whisk and sauce starts to thicken. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and cover with cling wrap to avoid a skin from forming on the top and set aside.

Rich Tomato Sauce

3 tbsp Olive Oil

Mince 2 Cloves of Garlic

2 Cans (355 ml) or 1 Large can of Crushed Tomatoes- (with Italian Seasoning if you can get it)

5 Fresh Basil leaves that are torn and added to the tomatoes

1/4 tsp of mixed dried herbs (Italian style)

1/8 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of freshly ground pepper

1 125 ml of whipping cream

2 tbsp of chopped fine shallots

In a sauce pan heat over medium, olive oil, garlic and shallots, sauté until the shallots are translucent, add the tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper and basil leaves, simmer for 5 minutes add the whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a oven safe dish, spread 1/4 c of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, take your oven ready pasta tubes and your spinach and cheese filling and fill the cannelloni tubes (I find using my fingers works best). Place rows of filled cannelloni in the bottom of the pan. Top with béchamel sauce, next tomato sauce and then sprinkle with grated Asiago. Repeat this step until all the stuffed cannelloni is used, sauce and cheese although on the final layer add shredded mozzarella and ricotta on the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or the tomato sauce is bubbling and cheese should be melted and slightly browned on top.

This dish pares well with a fresh garden salad and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, you can add some shaved parmesan to this salad and a fresh banquette.