Cooking = de-stressing in my opinion. It’s time away from the screen, time to put on the music and catch up with my family. In years gone by it was also time for my children to sit up at the kitchen counter and finish off their homework or their latest ‘masterpiece’. Now we share a glass of vino – well those of us over 18 do that – and chat about the day’s events.
We need moments which ground us, and I found my happy place making this dish of cannelloni. It’s easy (there’s no white sauce – thanks to Sam of Drizzle and Dip for her inspiration) and totally therapeutic.
Winter comfort food? Tick.
Cosy up. Rain is forecast
You will need
For the sauce
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600 g Pesto Princess Tomato Soup
1 small bunch basil, chopped (keep a few leaves for garnishing)
3 Tbsp Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto
For the filling
400 g spinach, chard or baby spinach
400 g ricotta cheese
40 g Parmesan, finely grated
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper
For the assembly
± 20 dried cannelloni pasta tubes (approximately 250 g)
125 g ball of mozzarella
60 g Parmesan, finely grated
1. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add the onion and garlic, and cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is golden.
2. Add the Pesto Princess Tomato Soup and reduce for about 20-30 minutes.
3. Add the basil leaves, Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto and season well. Simmer for five minutes and set aside.
4. For the filling, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan, over low heat. Add the spinach and cook until bright and wilted. Set aside to cool before squeezing out any excess water. Chop finely.
5. Combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg and nutmeg.
6. To assemble, preheat the oven to 200°C (non-fan assisted). Spoon the ricotta mixture into a large piping bag without a nozzle and fill the cannelloni tubes. If you don’t have a piping bag, improvise by snipping the corner off a clean shopping bag, or ziplock bag.
7. In a large baking dish, add half the tomato sauce and then lay the filled cannelloni on top. Pour over the remaining tomato sauce, cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the foil, top with mozzarella and grated Parmesan and cook for another 10 -15 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the pasta is fork tender. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a scattering of fresh basil leaves.
Feeds 4-6 hungry people.
Food styling and photography by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Fat Bastard The Golden Reserve 2017
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Gently pressed to retain ripe juicy fruit with soft tannins. Aged in small French oak barrels which allow the fruit to shine. This is a wine which makes you think ‘Ah yes’ when you take a sip. Very satisfying drinking.
Looks like A Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork with an elegant black and gold label, featuring an enchanting hippo. In the glass, it is a deep blood-plum red at the core which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges.
Smells like Sappy blackcurrants, roadside brambles. Mulberries meld with plums in the aromas and the palate.
It tastes like The palate is broad, deep, layered and runs to a long ending where cashmere clad tannins are interwoven and delicious. This is a bottle for drinking on its own when you really want a deep and utterly satisfying glass. It is, of course,made for good food too, from your traditional Sunday Roast to a happy midweek supper dish like this one.