Cannelloni with Ricotta and Cherry Tomato Sauce

This cannelloni combines a creamy sharp ricotta filling with slightly bitter greens and a sweet tomato sauce. The contrast between the sauce and filling is amazing



To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and cook until just turning golden. Add the halved tomatoes. They should hiss as they go in – this will slightly caramelise the juices and concentrate the flavour. Stir well, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper (the sauce should still appear quite lumpy). Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the ricotta filling, plunge the salad greens into a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain well, squeezing out any excess moisture. Chop finely. Press the ricotta through a sieve into a bowl. Beat in the eggs, then add the chopped greens and half the Parmesan. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook the cannelloni or lasagne sheets in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
If using homemade pasta, cook for 1 minute. Lift out of the water and drain on a clean tea towel.

Spoon the ricotta filling into the piping bag. Fill each tube of cannelloni or pipe down the shorter edge of each lasagne sheet and roll it up. Arrange the filled cannelloni tightly together in a single layer in the prepared dish. Spoon over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC (400ºF), Gas 6 for 25-30 minutes until bubbling. Serve immediately.


Serves 4-6

12 dried cannelloni tubes or
12 sheets fresh or dried lasagne

for the tomato sauce

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

750g cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

ricotta filling

100g bitter salad greens such as rocket, watercress or spinach

500g ricotta cheese

2 eggs, beaten

100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

A piping bag with a large plain nozzle

A shallow ovenproof dish, buttered