(Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni)
Translated and Adapted from recetas.lanacion.com.ar
When I was little, my mom used to make cannelloni pretty often. She made spinach and meat ones; funnily enough, I believe I preferred the latter. As is typical in Argentina, she would make crêpes, or panqueques, for the dough instead of actual pasta, and she always made sure to make some extra for dessert (crêpes with dulce de leche are quite extraordinary!). It had been a while since we had eaten cannelloni, but I received my weekly menu from La Nación one Monday morning, which contained this recipe. I immediately set off to make it.
Yields 4-6 servings
- 500 grams fresh spinach
- 150 grams mozzarella, diced
- 150 grams ricotta
- 12 crêpes
- 100 milliliters prepared béchamel sauce (see Comments)
- 50 grams grated Parmesan
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Nutmeg, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 177C (350F) and lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.
- In a large pot, cook the spinach over medium heat until wilted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, squeeze out the liquid and chop.
- Mix the spinach with the ricotta and diced mozzarella. Season to taste.
- Add the Parmesan to the prepared béchamel sauce and set aside.
- Divide the filling evenly among the crêpes and roll them up. Place them in the prepared baking dish. Evenly spread the béchamel sauce over the cannelloni.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
Comments: This yet another quite simplistic recipe that doesn’t take up that much time. The blend of cheeses was quite excellent. You can, of course, make your own crêpes, but I had some stored in the freezer, which I used instead. I have instructions for making crêpes in the recipe for Mushroom & Spinach Crêpes. For the béchamel sauce, you can go all out and do the traditional one with a roux. The one I made was a very easy and quick one my mom has always made. For every 250 milliliters of milk (I used almond in this case), add 1 tablespoon of flour; simmer the mixture while stirring constantly until you get a creamy consistency. You can add more or less flour depending on whether you want a thicker or more liquid sauce. The original recipe also includes 100 grams of bacon, which you must dice and sauté to a golden color; as I am vegetarian and never liked bacon, I omitted it.