Cheesy Spinach Cannelloni Recipe Everyone Will Want For Pasta Night

Are you looking to serve a meal that will look restaurant quality in presentation, has that unmistakable homemade goodness, and will impress your dinner guests (or family members), even though it wasn't actually that hard to make? If so, then you're right on the money with this delicious cannelloni recipe we're serving up. "I would say the difficulty level of this recipe is a medium, but it looks far more intensive than it really is," says recipe developer Mackenzie Ryan of Food Above Gold, adding, "It definitely takes time, but you'll feel proud of what you accomplished at the end, because it tastes like it took more work than it actually did."

As a matter of fact, Ryan notes that the most challenging part of the whole recipe may be tracking down the right ingredients! "Weird anecdote: Cannelloni noodles are extremely hard to find in the grocery stores in the United States — even specialty stores," she says. "If you have a reason to use them instead of manicotti and don't want to spend tons on the internet, you can use partially cooked lasagna noodles. Just boil them until [they're] soft enough to mold, roll them into the shape, and let [them] dry. Only the partially boiled ones work, though, because they have flat edges and not the traditional ruffled shape of other lasagna noodles."

Good luck finding the right noodles or make-shifting your own. But, beyond that, you've totally got this, so now it's time to get cooking!

Gather your ingredients to make this delightfully cheesy pasta dish

Again, good luck finding the right noodles for this dish. After you do that, all you'll need to round up or shop for is frozen spinach (thawed), 1 pound of whole milk ricotta cheese, shredded Parmesan, a shredded cheese blend (Keep in mind that Ryan notes, "Depending on where you live, the shredded cheese blend can be called many things: five cheese blend, pizza cheese blend, Quattro Formaggio, etc. Ideally, you want a blend that includes mozzarella and Parmesan, plus other cheeses like fontina, provolone, and asiago."), an egg, garlic cloves (smashed and minced), ground nutmeg, salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh basil (minced), eight to nine ounces of cannelloni tubes, a jar of pasta sauce, shredded mozzarella, and extra basil for garnish. The list of ingredients is pretty hefty, but the end result will be so worth it.

Prepare the filling for your cannelloni, and prep the pan

Start off by preheating the oven to 375 F. Next, working in batches, squeeze out the excess water from the spinach using paper towels. "Don't skip thawing the spinach," says Ryan. "If you put it in frozen, or even partially [frozen], it will make the filling super watery and green. Neither of which is very appetizing."

To make the filling, place the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, cloves, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and basil into a bowl, and stir until combined. Next, pour roughly ⅓ of the jar of sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish, and spread it out so it covers the whole bottom.

Fill the pasta tubes, and prep the dish for baking

Ideally, you can use a piping bag for this step, but there's an easy workaround if you don't have one handy. "Don't have any piping bags around? No problem," says Ryan. "Use a zippered sandwich bag instead and cut the corner." 

So, whether you're using a piping bag or a sandwich bag, you'll load it up with the filling and cut off the corner about one inch up from the point. Then, use the bag to squeeze the filling into each of the cannelloni tubes, working from one side, then the other, if needed. 

Next, lay the tubes side-by-side in the sauce, then cover the stuffed cannelloni with the rest of the sauce. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake the cannelloni, then add the cheese, and bake for a bit more

Pop the covered pan into the oven and bake the cannelloni at 375 F for 30 minutes. Next, pull the pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil from the baking dish. Sprinkle on the mozzarella evenly, then return the dish to the oven and bake it, uncovered this time, for another ten to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned on the edges.

Pull the baked cannelloni out of the oven, sprinkle on some fresh basil as a garnish, and let it cool for ten minutes before serving. And if you are looking for pairing ideas, Ryan has some tasty suggestions. "This goes exceptionally well with something acidic as a compliment. That can be a side salad with a strong vinaigrette or simply some marinated cucumbers," she says.

Cheesy Spinach Cannelloni Recipe Everyone Will Want For Pasta Night
5 from 26 ratings
This cheesy cannelloni recipe pairs exceptionally well with a side salad with a strong vinaigrette or simply some marinated cucumbers.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
45
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Cannelloni served on a plate
Total time: 65 minutes
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese blend
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • 8 to 9 ounces cannelloni tubes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • extra basil for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Working in batches, squeeze the excess water from the spinach using paper towels.
  3. To make the filling, place the spinach, ricotta, shredded Parmesan, shredded cheese blend, egg, minced garlic cloves, ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, and basil into a bowl, and stir until combined.
  4. Pour roughly ⅓ of the jar of sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish, and spread it out so it covers the whole bottom.
  5. Fill a sandwich bag or piping bag with the filling, and cut off the corner about one inch up. Then, use it to squeeze the filling into each of the cannelloni tubes.
  6. Cover the stuffed cannelloni with the rest of the sauce, and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil from the baking dish, and sprinkle on the mozzarella. Then, return the dish to the oven, and bake uncovered another ten to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned on the edges.
  8. Let cool for ten minutes before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 825
Total Fat 41.6 g
Saturated Fat 23.3 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 171.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 65.8 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Total Sugars 12.2 g
Sodium 1,487.4 mg
Protein 46.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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