This is yet another meal that was inspired by that 2 pound container of ricotta in my fridge. Acutally, this was the first meal. I sent out a plea to my Facebook followers, and thank goodness for Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod – she linked up this delicious pasta recipe. I think that pasta was the number 1 response for ways to use ricotta, but I wanted something different than your normal lasagna. And this was great!! I loved the idea of using lasagna noodles to make your own cannelloni. It was also suggested by others on Facebook to use crepes as the noodles for cannelloni – another idea I need to try out!!
If you are looking for a delicious, vegetarian entree – this is the one to try!
Spinach Mushroom Cannelloni
slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
total time: about 1 hour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash crushed red pepper
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 box No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
Make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in the spinach and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and the spinach is wilted; remove from heat. While it is cooking, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix in. When the spinach/mushroom mixture is finished cooking, mix it in along with the seasonings. Set aside.
Make the marinara: Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the tomato paste and let cook for 60 seconds. Stir in the red pepper flake and the diced tomatoes. Add the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let simmer and cook down slightly for about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. (The noodles will not be cooked all the way through, but will finish cooking in the oven.) Carefully remove them from the water and lay them flat on a wire cooling rack.
To assemble: Take about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce and spread it in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture on the short side of each lasagna noodle. Put 1 tablespoon of the marinara on top of the ricotta mixture, then roll up the noodle. Transfer to the baking dish with the seam side down. Continue will all of the noodles and filling. Top with the remaining sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Cover pan with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for until the cheese has browned and is bubbling, about 5 minutes.