I love this recipe so much. I’ve been playing around with it for a couple of years. The first time I did this, I had lots of cheese and onions and stuff like that. I feel I keep this simple. I hope you like it. Again, this is not authentic but my version.
2 x 250g / just over 2 cups Ricotta
170g / Approx 6oz Garlic and Herb Philadelphia cream cheese
Pinch of White pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
Pinch red pepper flakes
Grated fresh nutmeg
113g / 1 cup grated cheddar (or provolone, smoked gouda, any cheese that you really like. I keep trying with whatever I have on hand)
50 g / ½ cup grated parmesan
500g / 16 ½ cups, spinach, wilted, drained, cooled, and chopped
1-3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Approx 43 large pasta shells, depending on size and how much you fill them, or a package of no cook cannelloni pasta
2 tbsp butter
Drizzle of olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
300 mls / 1 ¼ cups Vegetable stock
800g / 28 oz can tomato sauce with herbs
Grated Cheddar and parmesan
- Start a pan of water on to boil and salt it. Add your pasta if using the shells (for cannelloni skip this part), cook until they’re pliable and you can easily bend them but not overcooked. Drain and set them aside.
- Put all of the cheese filling ingredients into a bowl and mix well until everything is combined.
- Now, get started on the sauce. In a medium pan on medium heat, melt the butter with a drizzle of olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes, along with salt and pepper. Cook this for 5-8 minutes until it is soft. Add in the chopped garlic, give the pan a stir, and then add in the vegetable stock. Cook this for about a minute before adding in the tomato sauce. Use your favourite. I happen to love the Maggi brand of Tomato sauce with herbs. Cook this for about ten minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160-180oc / gas mark 5 (this depends on your oven as they do vary a lot, but this works for mine)
- To assemble. Take your oven proof safe dish and in the bottom, drizzle some of this sauce as a nice bed for the pasta. Next, fill your pasta. For the shells, I use a small teaspoon and put it in. With the Cannelloni, I get a pastry bag, stuff the filling in the bag, snip off the end, big enough to fit into the hole of the Cannelloni and squeeze into the tube. A little trick, I rest one end of the Cannelloni on the board, and squeeze out the filling on the free end, and I can see when it fills up.
- Put the shells ( I actually do mine with the cheese filling facing up as I love how it seems to bake better) or Cannelloni into your dish, top with the remaining tomato filling, then sprinkle some cheese on top.
- Cover the top with some greased foil, and put in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. The tops should be lovely and golden and bubbly.
- Serve this with either a side salad or a piece of ancho seasoned chicken. Lovely!
Pictures down below show the shells, the Cannelloni, and also the final dish served with ancho seasoned chicken. It was so good! Family loved it, including my niece and nephews.