Ricotta Spinach and Pork Cannelloni

I got inspired by this Italian Sausage Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni. It’s made using fresh pasta but I was too lazy to make some. I bought myself a box of Manicotti and used pork instead of Italian sausage. I also used fresh spinach. I have never ever been a fan of frozen spinach. It just never sounds right for me. I used Pecorino Romano Cheese. Much more tasty and salty than Parmesan. We ate everything. No left overs. I wish you a very pleasant weekend!

Ground Pork Filling: in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and capsicum until fragrant and soft. Add garlic and chilli and cook one minute.

Add the ground pork, and cook until no longer pink and slightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the paprika and cook 1 minute.

Drain any excess fat and set aside to cool.

For Fresh Spinach: in a small pot heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, increase heat and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Remove and set aside to cool.

To make Tomato Sauce: in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and garlic and cook until soft but not brown. Add the dried oregano or thyme and cook for another 1 minute.

Add the coarsely pureed tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring often. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

To Make Ricotta filling: in a large mixing bowl stir together the dried or cooked, cooled spinach, ground pork filling, ricotta, 1½ cups Pecorino Romano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Add the egg and mix until combined.

Spread the base of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, with 2 cups tomato sauce. Fill the cannelloni or manicotti with the ricotta filling using a teaspoon or a piping bag. Arrange them in a single layer, in two rows.

Spoon the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce evenly over the cannelloni/manicotti.

Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano over top.

Bake the cannelloni for 30-35 minutes or until fully heated through and bubbly on top. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Ricotta, Spinach and Pork Cannelloni

Ingredients

  • 1 x 300g (10-oz) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry OR see instructions for fresh spinach below
  • Ground Pork Filling- see recipe below
  • 1 x 450g  (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups  freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 packet Cannelloni or Manicotti, cooked as per packet instructions and set aside
  • 4 cups Simple Tomato Sauce- see recipe below
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Ground Pork Filling 

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green capsicum finely diced (bell pepper)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 300g (10oz) ground pork or mixture of ground pork and sausage meat

Fresh Spinach

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 small cloves garlic crushed
  • 300g (10oz) fresh spinach washed drained and chopped

Simple Tomato Sauce 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  •  2 teaspoons dried oregano or thyme
  • 2 x 796g (28oz) cans whole tomatoes, drained, and coarsely pureed in a blender
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Ground Pork: in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and capsicum until fragrant and soft. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add the ground pork, and cook until no longer pink and slightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and cook 1 minute.  Drain any excess fat and set aside to cool.
  2. For Fresh Spinach: in a small pot heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, increase heat and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. To make Tomato Sauce: in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and garlic and cook until soft but not brown. Add the dried oregano or thyme and cook for another 1 minute. Add the coarsely pureed tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring often.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. To Make Ricotta filling: in a large mixing bowl stir together the dried or cooked, cooled spinach, ground pork filling, ricotta, 1½ cups Pecorino Romano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC) ten minutes before using. Spread the base of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, with 2 cups tomato sauce. Fill the cannelloni or manicotti with the ricotta filling using a teaspoon or a piping bag. Arrange them in a single layer, in two rows. Spoon the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce evenly over the cannelloni/manicotti. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano over top.
  6. Bake the cannelloni for 30-35 minutes or until fully heated through and bubbly on top. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve the cannelloni with extra tomato sauce from the baking dish and garnish with fresh basil.

Points to Note

  1. Tomato sauce will last 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.

myfavouritepastime.com

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

12 thoughts

  1. Yum! I like the sounds of your recipe Liz. I just can’t do real spicy foods anymore so this sounds good using ground pork! So easy and quick. I wonder if it would freeze ok because I still can’t get used to not cooking for 6 people even after all these years! The sun has decided to bless us this morning and I’m off to the recycling place and then to get some groceries. MAnicotti ingredients will be on my list! HAppy Mother’s Day on Sunday to you Liz!

    1. Thank you. I have been offline for some time. I wonder why I never saw this one!! I hope you had a wonderful mothers day too!
      Liz

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