Ricotta & spinach cannelloni

Updated: Feb 6

A perfect treat for a Sunday Autumn meal, spinach and lemon are at their best right now!


Makes 5 serves - Preparation time 1 hour - resting time 30 min - cooking time 30 min


Pasta dough:

  • 280g 00 flour + 20g semolina wheat flour(or 300g all-purpose flour)

  • 3 eggs


  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 300g whole milk ricotta

  • 2 eggs

  • ¾ cups of Parmigiano cheese, grated

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated

  • 1 lemon zest, finely grated (optional)

  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Tomato sauce:

  • 500g (2 cups) tinned tomatoes

  • 200ml (¾ cup) water

  • 1 brown onion, diced

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves

  • 1 fresh chilli


Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.

Gently combine eggs with flour using a fork from the middle outwards.

With your hands, gradually incorporate the flour from the outside of the well toward the center, kneading gently until the mass of dough comes together.

Put the dough on a wooden surface and knead it until it is smooth and resilient.

You may need to add more flour, or you may not be able to incorporate all of the flour, depending on the humidity and the size of the eggs. If the dough is sticky or extremely pliable, knead more flour in.

Work the mass of dough with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour for about 10-15 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion.

Wrap it and place in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before using.

As your dough is resting, cook the tomato sauce and make the ravioli filling:


Saute the onion in the oil until it is soft and translucent. Next add the tomatoes and fresh chilli. Finally, add the water bringing all to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 20 minutes.

Once cooked add the fresh basil leaves.


Saute the spinach with garlic and oil, cover with a lid and cook until just wilted. Set aside to cool.

Mix the ricotta with eggs, Parmigiano cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest, parsley and seasoning.

Add the cooled spinach and mix to combine.

Rest in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.


After the resting time, dust the work surface with some extra flour, take a portion of dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips.

Set the pasta machine at its widest setting, (usually '0, but it depends on the kind of machine you use).

Pass the dough through the rollers once, then fold the resulting strip into thirds.

Roll the pasta dough through the widest setting 5 times, till your dough has a rectangular shape and is smooth. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it is at all sticky.

Narrow the setting of the pasta machine to position '1' and roll the dough through.

Continue passing the dough through the rollers, reducing the thickness by 1 setting each time until it reaches the desired thickness. It should now be very delicate, elastic to the touch and slightly translucent.

Roll the pasta as thinly as you desire (I would use 7 out of 9, but it depends on the machine you have).

Cut the pasta sheet into 10x14cm rectangles. Dust with semolina flour, cover with a towel and set aside.


Put a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the base of the cannelloni dish.

Fill each pasta rectangle with 2-3 tablespoons of filling.

Roll the pasta sheet to enclose the filling and place it seam side down, on the dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until the layer of cannelloni is complete.

Cover the layer of cannelloni with the tomato sauce so that each pasta roll is nicely covered in it.

Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 25 minutes.

If you prefer sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Rest at room temperature for 15 minutes covered, then serve.

During a cooking class with my students.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please let me know your thoughts and tag me on my Fb page Pasta Journey or my Instagram _pastajourney_ . I would love to hear from you!

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