July 20, 2012

Sage, Spinach and Pork Cannelloni

If you go searching online for a cannelloni recipe all you're going to find is the exact same recipe over and over and over. A combination of spinach, chicken and ricotta. 

No joke. It seems to be the only variety of cannelloni going. Naturally I wanted to grace you with something different. So thoughtful!

There is so much more to cannelloni than what the internet is leading you to believe. Sly. Yo' people, share yo' cannelloni recipes.  

To make cannelloni there are several elements for the dish that are a must. Cannelloni tubes (duh),  a tomato sauce, a filling of some kind for the cannelloni, a white sauce and cheese. Once you have these base elements you are good to go! 

I decided to make a minced pork filling with sage. This was a very good choice, in my opinion.  Pork and sage- a classic combination just like lamb and rosemary. I must admit that this is one of the nicest pasta dishes I have eaten in a long time. Usually, cannelloni is topped with a béchamel sauce before being baked. I thought that for the summer a béchamel sauce was too thick. So, I ditched it and used a fresh and light mix of ricotta, cremé fraiche and parmesan. 

My Mother, who doesn't really like pasta or Italian food, said it was the nicest pasta dish she'd ever eaten. Mam's pleased, good sign, it has passed the test, you should definitely make it! 

It is summery, full of flavour and a great dish to put in the middle of the table and serve up to family!


Holly x

Cannelloni filling ingredients: onion, garlic, sage, spinach and minced pork.

Dice the onion, garlic and chop the sage. 

Once you chop the sage its aroma is released and it smells amazing!

Gently sauté the onion in butter, oil, salt and pepper for 5 minutes until... 

...translucent. Then add garlic and sage and sauté for 1 minute. 

DON'T burn the garlic!

Add the minced pork and cook for 5-10 minutes until lovely and brown.

Add 1 heaped tablespoon of breadcrumbs and 1 heaped tablespoon of ricotta to the browned pork.

This adds another flavour dimension and helps the filling bind together.

Spread out onto a baking sheet and allow to cool.

While its cooling get on with your tomato sauce and spinach. 

Blanch the spinach by sitting the leaves in a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds...

...remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of iced water.

Place the blanched spinach in the centre of a clean tea towel...

..ring out until all the moisture is gone.

Drape the spinach in and around the cooling mixture.

'White Sauce' ingredients: ricotta, cremé fraiche, grated parmesan, salt and pepper.

Combine all ingredients together.

Taste and check for seasoning.

Once the filling is cooled pipe or push the pork filling in the cannelloni shells.

This is a lot easier than it looks. Cut the opening of the piping bag roughly 1 cm smaller than the diameter of the cannelloni shell, so that the piping bag can fit inside the shell. Place the piping bag inside the shell, half way, pipe the mixture in pulling out as you pipe. Remove pipping bag, turn the cannelloni shell around and do the same thing at the other end. 

Equally you can push the filling in with your fingers!

To assemble, pour 3/4 of the tomato sauce into a dish, lay your filled cannelloni on top and pour over the rest of your sauce.

Spread the white sauce on top and tear over the mozzarella. 

Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes!

Recipe, Serve 6 Generously

1 Large Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Fresh Sage
500g Minced Pork
Tablespoon Ricotta
1 Tablespoon Breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Knob of Butter
15-18 Cannelloni Tubes
125g Spinach

Dice onion the onion into a medium dice.
Dice the garlic into a fine dice.
Roughly chop the sage.
In a sauce pan heat the olive oil and melt the butter until it is foaming.
Add onion and slowly sweat until translucent-about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sage-cook for 1 minute, making sure not to burn garlic.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add minced pork and cook until brown all over-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once cooked, stir in breadcrumbs and ricotta.
Check for seasoning.
Spread out filling onto a baking sheet to allow to cool while you blanch the spinach.

Tomato Sauce
Follow this link for the recipe. Leave out the peppers and use only one tin of tomatoes.
1 Jar Shop Bought Tomato Sauce

White Sauce
4 Heaped Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
4 Tablespoons Ricotta
50g Grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
150g Mozzarella, for the top

Mix all ingredients together.


  1. A really delicious dish. Great Pictures. Thanks Holly.

  2. Yummy this sounds delicious, Gonna give these ago one evening this week, thanks for sharing.