This is the first time I’ve attempted to make cannelloni, and I decided to try after reading a recipe of Rick Stein’s, which this recipe has been rather loosely adapted from. It’s an easy recipe, using fresh lasagne sheets to roll up the filling – very cheesy and satisfying. It is fiddly, wrapping up each individual little roll, and I’ve found it’s much easier with two people – one to dollop on the filling, and the other to roll up the pasta and put it in the tray.
3 leeks, thinly sliced
1 capsicum, chopped into small pieces
A few handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
200g of ham, cut into strips
A handful of fresh oregano, chopped (or a few good shakes of dried herbs – oregano, basil and chilli are good)
About 250g of ricotta or aged cheddar
Salt and pepper
1 pack of fresh lasagne sheets
Bottled tomato pasta sauce
Extra cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 200C. In a large saucepan, melt a little butter, then saute the leeks, capsicum, mushrooms and ham for about 10 minutes, or until it’s reduced down. At this stage, if there’s a little excess liquid, pour it off. Season well, to your taste, and then take off the heat. Stir in the cheese. We used cheddar, but Rick Stein uses ricotta, which would probably give them quite a different texture.
While the leek mixture is cooking, put the lasagne sheets in a deep tray, and soak in boiling water for 5 minutes. Just before you’re reading to begin rolling the cannelloni, transfer the pasta to a plate, tearing the sheets in half. If they begin to stick together while you’re making the pasta, pour a little hot water over them.
Oil a large tray with sides to bake the cannelloni on, and then pour in a reasonable amount of bottled pasta sauce, spreading it evenly around.
In order to prepare the cannelloni, you’ll need the plate with the lasagne sheets, a plate to roll the canneloni on, the leek mixture, and your oiled and tomatoed tray. Tear the lasagne sheets in half. Grab each half-sheet on at a time, and place on your spare plate. Spoon some of the leek mixture along one edge, and roll up the sheet, placing it in the tray. Continue, until you’ve filled your tray, used up all your lasagne sheets, or run out of leek mixture.
Pour a little more pasta sauce into the tray, and spread it generously over the cannelloni. Sprinkle over a little extra cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. Delicious.
Variations are endless, as you can use practically anything for the filling, and change the flavour quite dramatically if you use different cheeses.