A good purposeful vegetarian dinner, packed full of vegetables and protein is what us omnivores need more often. By purposeful I mean made on purpose, not just a meat meal with substitutions. For me vegetarian pasta is infinitely preferable to a meat packed pasta feast - to the extent of removing the sauce without the meatballs. Sure, the flavour is there, but spaghetti and sauce is much better and more meatballs for those that want them - nobody is complaining!
So here is a flavour packed dinner, infinitely adaptable.
Ricotta Spinach CannelloniThis is a great meal, especially since it is easy to make a modified version for the children of the house. My 9 month old daughter had a version with the sauce and filling before the olives, capers salt and pepper were added. Pretty handy . . . but messy!
8 pieces of lasagna, approximately 10cm by 15cm
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
100mL red winefresh majorum, chopped
250g Perfect Italiano Original Ricotta
12 black olives, preferably Kalamata, chopped
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and chopped
500g fresh spinach, washed well
100g Parmesan, freshly grated
Salt and pepper
Cook the lasagna according to directions on the packet or if fresh until almost cooked. Drain and leave to cool on a tea towel.
Cook the spinach in a saucepan with just the water on the leaves, stirring often until well wilted. Drain and squeeze dry once cool enough to handle then chopped.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent, add half the garlic and cook for a few moments then add the red wine. Simmer for a few minutes then add the passata. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes then add the majorum and salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Mix the Perfect Italiano Original Ricotta, olives, capers, spinach, a good grating of nutmeg, almost all of the Parmesan (reserving enough to sprinkle on the top before baking) and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour half the tomato sauce in an oven proof dish large enough to hold your rolled cannelloni in one layer.
Lay out the lasagna sheets and divide the ricotta mixture between them forming a sausage shape along the short end. Roll the cannelloni up, but not too tightly! Lay in the dish on the tomato sauce and pour the rest over the top. Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes then rest for 5 minutes before enjoying, perhaps with a lovely green salad. Mmmmmmmmmmm.