Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Baked Pasta Rolls/Sideways Canneloni

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and New Year!

This recipe is probably the only good thing to have come out of eating nothing but restaurant food for two months (apart from increased fatness-linked winter warmth). My colleagues and I ate at Jamie's Italian on a couple of occasions and enjoyed it - however it's not exactly great for veggies, because although there are a few options which are either veggie already or easily adaptable, nothing is labelled and they are pretty indiscriminate with the Parmesan so you have to just trust the knowledge of your waiter/waitress when it comes to making a choice!

This recipe is an amalgamation of what I ended up eating in Jamie's Italian - which they called Honeycomb Canneloni - and a recipe from Jamie's website called Squash & Spinach Pasta Rotolo. I've picked the best of both worlds when it comes to the filling - half have a spinach and feta filling, half have aubergine and sun-dried tomato. There's no reason why you can't experiment with different stuff, let me know in the comments if you hit on something incredible! I've labelled the recipe steps which relate to the different fillings, so you can ignore one and double the quantity of the other if you like.

Although it's pretty fiddly - I felt like I had 10 thumbs when I was trying to do the rolls - it looks really pretty and is a great variation on boring old canneloni.

Serves 4

What you need

olive oil
6 fresh lasgne sheets (or dried, pre-boiled)
300g fresh spinach
1 onion (chopped)
half a standard-size block of veggie feta
pinch of nutmeg
500ml passata
50g mature cheddar or 25g faux-parmesan
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 aubergines
a good handful sun-dried tomatoes
a few fresh basil leaves (optional)
salt & pepper

What to do

Aubergine filling - First, slice both the aubergines in half vertically (stalks removed) and score across the cut side in a criss-cross pattern like you would a mango. Place in a baking dish. Drizzle each half with a tablespoon of olive oil (sorry for chronic unhealth but aubergine is such an oil sponge) and place in the oven at 180 degrees for about half an hour until soft all the way through. Set aside to cool.

Spinach filling - While the aubergines are doing, you can be sorting your spinach. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Fry until softened and starting to brown at the edges, then add the spinach and put the lid on the pan. Leave for about 5 minutes until the spinach has wilted, then season liberally with salt, pepper and the nutmeg before taking off the heat. Pour off any excess liquid that's come off the spinach.

Aubergine filling - When the cooked aubergine is cool, scrape the flesh out of the skin and mash it with a fork. Cut up the sun-dried tomatoes (I find scissors easiest) and stir them in. Season with salt and pepper. 

Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan (So much oil! So many pans! I know, I know) and add the crushed garlic. Wait until it's sizzling but not burning, then pour in the passata. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat. 

Now for the fiddly part. Lay out one lasagne sheet at a time on a plate or board. It helps to spray or brush the surface with a small amount of oil to stop it sticking. Make sure both your fillings and the feta are within reach.

Spread the lasagne sheet with your chosen filling - alternate fillings when you change sheet to make sure it's half and half - adding a crumbled handful of feta to the spinach one, then roll up like a tiny pasta carpet. Slice each roll into three, and place each roll carefully into the pan with the passata. Place them side by side until the pan is full.

Grate over your cheese of choice and scatter over the basil if you're using. Bake in a 180 degree oven for around half an hour until golden brown.

Serve with garlic bread or a green salad, depending on the degree of January diet austerity you're enforcing.


  1. Ooh I've had this in Jamie's Italian before (in fact that was my first thought before I started reading!) I've been thinking of making it ever since but haven't got around to it. This looks really good but I can see how it would be fiddly!

  2. It definitely is fiddly! If you want to cut out a bit of the fiddlyness you can always use the same fillings for regular canneloni, or even as layers in a veggie lasagne - just top with bechamel and some cheese :)