[Recipe 3] PORK and FENNEL CANNELLONI
I’ve had a bit of a mental week and am now completely pooped; so it was with some gratitude that I peeped into the freezer and spotted a planned-over portion of pork and pine nuts (how’s that for alliteration)! I’d reserved it from making Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves a while ago.
In a moment of madness, I threw caution to the wind and used the mixture for a Pork, fennel and spinach cannelloni instead of Fusilli with pork sausage and lentils and it was so yum. So… I figured I’d save myself the trouble of posting the usual two recipes, and share this one with you instead.
You’ll find the original recipe post here. It yields about 1½ kilos (3 lb) of pork and pine nut mixture – you’ll need ½ kilo (1 lb) for this cannelloni recipe, and the remaining 1 kilo (2 lb) can be refrigerated or frozen to make the Pork, pine nut and pancetta mini meatloaves (or two more dinners of fusilli or cannelloni) at a later date. This pork and pinenut mixture is fab to have in the freezer, as you can whip it out on a weeknight for a super-quick no-brainer dinner.
[Recipe 3] Pork, fennel and spinach cannelloni
Ingredients (serves 4–6):
700ml (24 fl oz) tomato passata (tomato puree)
♦ 500g (1 lb) reserved pork and pine nut mixture (uncooked)
250g (8 oz) fresh ricotta
¼ cup (25g) grated parmesan or romano
250g (8 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, liquid thoroughly squeezed out
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
250g (8 oz) fresh cannelloni sheets (or lasagna sheets – see notes after recipe)
1 cup (100g) grated mozzarella
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Lightly grease a 6cm deep, 32cm x 22cm (12½-inch x 8½-inch) oven-proof lasagna-style dish. Spoon one cup of passata over the base.
♦ Place reserved pork and pine nut mixture in a large bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan, spinach, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Moisten each cannelloni sheet separately in a bowl of cold water before using.
Spoon about ¼ cup pork and ricotta mixture along the short side of a cannelloni sheet. Roll up to enclose the filling.
Repeat procedure with remaining cannelloni sheets. Arrange the cannelloni seam-side down in a single layer over the passata.
Pour remaining passata over cannelloni. Scatter with mozzarella. Cover with foil (make it ‘tent’ up so it doesn’t stick to the cheese) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn oven up to 200°C (390ºF), and bake for a further 15–20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a simple salad or Roasted pumpkin and baby carrots with cumin – this can be cooked in the oven alongside the cannelloni.
If cannelloni sheets are unavailable, you can use fresh lasagna sheets. Cut 6 lasagna sheets into twelve 10cm (4-inch) x 15cm (6-inch) pieces.
You can freeze grated mozzarella (in 1 cup/100g lots) for up to 3 months.
Unused cannelloni and lasagna sheets can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 2 months.
Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the thawed spinach – I pop it in a sieve above a bowl and push down hard on it with the back of a spoon.