Spinach, Parmesan and sausage cannelloni

  • for 8 people
  • Takes 30 minutes to make and about 45 minutes to cook
  • Easy
An interesting adaption of the traditional Italian pasta dish. This recipe can also be frozen so it's an ideal option to make ahead.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving: 986kcals, 68g fat (35.6g saturated), 33.2g protein, 63.9g carbs, 7.7g sugar, 3.1g salt

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600g fresh spinach, washed
14 (about 700g) good Cumberland sausages
2 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Large handful fresh oregano, roughly chopped
Large handful fresh flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
75g freshly grated Parmesan
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
700g jar passata
400g can chopped tomatoes
32 cannelloni tubes (we used
1½ x 250g boxes DeCecco dried Cannelloni Tubes)
600ml crème fraîche
250g mozzarella, roughly torn


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Place the washed spinach in a large saucepan with just the water that clings to its leaves, and heat until wilted. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Drain and set aside to cool. When cool, squeeze out any excess liquid between your hands, then roughly chop and set aside.
2. Split the sausages, then remove and discard the casings. Place the sausagemeat in a large bowl with the crushed garlic, half the oregano, the parsley, 50g of the Parmesan, the breadcrumbs and lots of seasoning. Add the egg and spinach, and mix really well.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the sliced garlic for just 30 seconds. Add the passata and chopped tomatoes to the pan, then fill the can with water and add this to the tomatoes. Stir in the remaining oregano and season well to taste. Simmer for just 15 minutes, until you have a loose tomato sauce mixture.
4. Meanwhile, fill the cannelloni tubes from both ends with the stuffing mixture. Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large roasting tin (so the cannelloni can sit in a single layer; use the largest tin you can find or 2 medium-size ovenproof dishes) and lay the filled cannelloni on top of the tomato sauce in one layer.
5. In a bowl, mix the crème fraîche with half of the remaining Parmesan and a little water to loosen, then spoon over the cannelloni. Scatter with the remaining Parmesan, the mozzarella and a good grinding of black pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve with crunchy salad.

  • To freeze: Cool and freeze the finished dish, wrapped well in cling film and kitchen foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost completely before reheating, covered, at 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 for 20 minutes, until piping hot.
  • A bright, lively Italian red such as a simple Chianti or Valpolicella would be lovely.

From April 2009

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