Frugal Food: Vegetarian Cannelloni

Introduction: Frugal Food: Vegetarian Cannelloni

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This ricotta cheese and spinach cannelloni has a delicious chunky vegetable sauce that is sure to be a winner with your friends and family. It's a great way to use up any leftover vegetables you have in your fridge at the end of the week (and any of the vegetables used in the sauce can be replaced if you've got something else you'd rather use).

There are a few ingredients involved, but most can be bought quite cheap. This recipe will comfortably serve 4 people.

The ingredients you require are:

A large drizzle of olive oil
375g packet of fresh lasagne sheets
500g of ricotta cheese
250g packet of frozen spinach
1 cup of grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
1 small handful of chopped pine nuts (optional)
1 tin of diced tomatoes 
6 button mushrooms
1 small zuccini 
Half an eggplant
A teaspoon of garlic paste or 1 clove of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon of basil paste or fresh chopped basil

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Step 1: Step 1

Before you start, preheat your fan-forced over to 180 degrees celsius.

Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 

While the oil is heating, roughly chop your eggplant, zuccini and mushrooms into small cubes. 

Step 2: Step 2

When the oil is hot, add your eggplant to the pan. The eggplant will take longer than the rest of the vegetables so it's important to add them first. 

When the eggplant is cooked, add the rest of the vegetables. You may find you need to add a little more oil. Turn the heat down to low and put a lid on and cook until tender.

Once the vegetables are cooked, you can take them out and set aside in a bowl. 

Step 3: Step 3

While your vegetables are cooking, you can prepare the filling for the cannelloni. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, roughly chopped pine nuts and half of the parmesan cheese.

Make sure the spinach has been thawed out first and well drained. 

Step 4: Step 4

Once the vegetables have been cooked completely and have been removed from the saucepan, add to the garlic to the hot saucepan and cook gently in  a little more oil.

Add the tin of the tomatoes, as well as a tin of water. Once the tomato mixture has heated, add the vegetables back in with the basil. 

Tubes of basil paste and garlic are great because they're cheap and last a while in the fridge, but we happened to have some fresh basil and garlic already available. 

Simmer on a low heat while you prepare the cannelloni. 

Step 5: Step 5

To assemble the cannelloni, lay out one sheet of the past at a time.

Spoon a large tablespoon of the mixture along the centre of the sheet (lengthways) and roll either side in.

Lay in a large oven-proof dish. 

Repeat until you have used all of the mixture and all of the pasta sheets. 

Step 6: Step 6

Once all of the cannelloni has been rolled and placed in the dish, pour the vegetable sauce over the top.

The sauce will seem quite watery, but don't worry! The liquid will be soaked up by the pasta.

Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top and put into the oven for 20 minutes. 

Step 7: Step 7

When the pasta is cooked through, take the cannelloni out of the over and set to cool for a couple of minutes. 

Serve onto four plates. You may want to add some cracked salt and pepper to taste, as the ricotta filling is not as salty if you use parmesan instead of cheddar.


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