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Cannelloni with Greens and Walnuts

Serve with a simple crisp, fresh salad to complement the rich, cheesy sauce and walnut filling. Fresh spinach is a good alternative for this recipe.

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12 dried cannelloni (tubes)
Dash of olive oil
Butter, for greasing
50g/2oz walnuts, chopped

For The Filling:

45ml/3tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
450g/1lb spring greens, shredded
200g/7oz can chopped tomatoes
1tsp dried oregano
3tbsp chopped fresh basil
225g/8oz ricotta cheese
75g/3oz fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
50g/2oz walnuts
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For The Cheese Sauce:

25g/1oz butter
25g/1oz plain flour
275ml/½pt milk
50g/2oz grated Fontina cheese


Serves: 4


Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the cannelloni with a dash of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain again, then pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper and set aside.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the spring greens, tomatoes and oregano. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid has completely evaporated. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Place the spring greens mixture in a food processor or blender and add the basil, ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, walnuts and nutmeg. Purée until smooth, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk, and heat until bubbling and thickened. Stir in the grated Fontina cheese.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Butter the insides of a shallow oven­proof dish. Using a teaspoon, stuff each cannelloni with the filling then lay it in the dish.

Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the cannelloni. Sprinkle with walnuts and bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden.

Sheets of fresh lasagne can be used instead of dried cannelloni. Make up ½ quantity Pasta Dough and roll out to 5mm/¼inch thick. Cut into 10 X 15cm/4 X 6 inch rectangles and spoon some of the filling along the short end of the sheet of pasta. Roll it up into a neat tube and place in the dish with the sealed end underneath.

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