Feb 12, 2008

Cannelloni stuffed with cottage cheese and spinach




So we meet again!!

This weekend was quite boring as we were restricted to the confines of our apartment.With the temperatures rising and the snow melting there was slush everywhere and with me paranoid about mud and slush there was no chance that i would step out.So finally we languished in front of the TV in our night suits, played scrabble ,completed my daughter's environmental science project, made a waste paper bin for my daughter's room, did some blog hopping and admiring the creativity and made cannelloni for lunch:)). Phew!!
Back in India it was a tedious task for me to go hunting for Cannelloni in the stores,here its a joy to shop for continental stuff, you name it and its there.
Cannelloni is a big pipe shaped pasta or basically large stuffable tubes( courtesy wikipedia).The basic idea is from Nita Mehta's chicken cannelloni but the stuffing has been incorporated by me.The stuffed pasta is layered with tomato sauce and bechamel sauce(white sauce) and baked with a generous sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.Yuummmmmm!!!!Every mouthful leading to sheer bliss.



You need:
5 ready made cannelloni tubes
1 tbsp oil and1tsp salt to cook the pasta
60 gms cheese (mozzarella) grated

For the stuffing:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 small onion chopped
3/4 cup chopped spinach(i used frozen minced spinach)
1 cup crumbled cottage cheese(paneer)
1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped finely
1/4 cup corn kernels( i used tinned sweet corn kernels)
1 large tomato pureed or equivalent tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion finely chopped
3 flakes garlic crushed
2 medium tomatoes pureed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dry oregano
salt and pepper to taste

For the bechamel sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp grated cheese(i use cheddar)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Boil ready made cannelloni tubes in boiling water with the salt and oil for 7-8 minutes or till done.Read the packet instructions.
  2. To prepare the stuffing, heat oil, add the onion and garlic, fry till onion is soft.Add the bell peppers ,corn and spinach and saute for 2-3 minutes.Add the crumbled cottage cheese, herbs,tomato puree, salt and pepper.Cook till the mixture is dry.
  3. To prepare the tomato sauce,heat oil ,add garlic,fry till light brown.Add onion and fry till transparent.Add all the other ingredients and boil till slightly thick pouring consistency(not dry).
  4. To prepare the bechamel sauce heat butter, add the flour and cook till it has a light brown tinge.Reduce heat and add milk stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed.Add seasonings and cook till the sauce starts coating the back of the spoon.Remove from heat,add cheese and mix well.
  5. Stuff cannelloni tubes with the prepared stuffing.
  6. To assemble, spread some tomato sauce at the base of the baking dish.Arrange the stuffed cannelloni on it in a single layer.Spread rest of the tomato sauce on it.Then spread the bechamel sauce on it to cover completely.
  7. Top it up with grated mozzarella cheese and bake at 180 deg C for 20 mins or till cheese is golden in colour.
Just forget being health conscious for a while and pamper your taste buds!
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