This is a family classic that sneaks in the nutrition of seasonal leafy greens — a great meat-free dinner idea.
- 2 onions
- 6 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 900g fresh seasonal greens , such as kale, chard, spinach or rocket
- pinch of nutmeg
- ½ a lemon
- 250g dried cannelloni tubes
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 1 bunch of fresh basil , (30g)
- 3 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
- 30g Parmesan cheese
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 1 large free-range egg
- 200ml milk
- Peel and finely slice the onions and 4 cloves of garlic and place in a large non- stick pan on a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Cook and stir while you prep the fresh greens – wash the leaves, trimming away any tough stalks. Slice the leaves and stir into the pan with the nutmeg.
- Cook for 15 minutes, or until nice and dark, stirring regularly. Tip into a food processor, finely grate in the lemon zest, add a squeeze of juice, then blitz until finely chopped.
- Taste and season to perfection, then, once cool enough to handle, pop the greens into a big sandwich bag, snip off the corner and pipe into the cannelloni tubes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- Return the pan to the heat (there’s no need to clean it) with 1 tablespoon of oil. Peel the remaining garlic, finely slice with the chilli and basil stalks, add to the pan and fry until lightly golden.
- Pour in the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Half-fill the tins with water, swirl around and pour into the pan.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and season to perfection – you want the sauce quite wet, as the pasta will soak lots of it up.
- Pour into a baking dish (25cm x 30cm) and line up the filled cannelloni on top, pushing them into the sauce.
- Finely grate the Parmesan into the food processor (there’s no need to clean it). Add the ricotta, egg, milk, the basil leaves and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and blitz until smooth.
- Pour it over the cannelloni, making sure all the tubes are covered, then bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 40 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Serve with a fresh side salad of your choice.