Cannelloni and lasagna are both wonderful dishes for the colder weather. Given the multiple steps and work involved, it is almost as easy to make two as it is to make one, and with the extra you can either surprise friends or family with the prep work done or pop one in the freezer for another time.
You will probably have extra cannelloni tubes left over from two packets, but one packet is not enough to use up all of the filling. Depending on the size of your trays, you may even be able to make a couple of individual serving versions from the recipe below.
The pine nuts will continue to cook once removed from the heat because of their high oil content, so don’t let them get too much colour on them when frying. I haven’t added salt because the high ratio of cheese adds saltiness.
- 1kg pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 red onion
- 1 tablespoon dried chilli
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 100g pine nuts
- 500g feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 50g butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon mustard [smooth not seeded]
- 1 litre milk
- 3 bay leaves
- 100g grated parmesan
- 200g grated tasty cheese
- 2 x 350g jars tomato based pasta sauce or 2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 250g packets cannelloni tubes
- 250g mozzarella cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Peel the pumpkin or squash, cut in half, scoop out any seeds and stringy insides. Chop into pieces, approximately 2cm cubes. Add chopped cubes to a baking tray.
- Finely chop red onion & garlic, and add to baking tray with the pumpkin or squash.
- Drizzle vegetables in the baking tray with 2 tablespoons olive oil and dried chilli, toss to coat.
- Bake in oven until pumpkin or squash is soft and cooked through, approximately 1 hour. You should check on the vegetables at regular intervals and give them a stir to encourage them to cook evenly.
- Meanwhile heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and fry the pine nuts until lightly golden. Remove from heat.
- Once pumpkin is cooked, allow to cool, mash slightly, add the fried pine nuts, crumbled feta, nutmeg, chopped rosemary and mix to combine.
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and mustard and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add a little milk to the flour & butter mixture, and continue adding milk slowly to incorporate without getting lumps. If you do happen to get lumps use a whisk to combine the ingredients.
- Add the bay leaves, and heat the sauce mix, stirring constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens. This does require patience. The sauce is ready to remove from the heat if you can run a finger along the back of the wooden spoon to draw a line, and the line remains on the spoon.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, remove the bay leaves and add the grated parmesan and tasty cheese. Stir until combined, the heat should be enough to melt the cheese.
- Stir the cheese sauce every now and then while you are assembling to prevent a skin forming on the top of the sauce.
- You are now ready to assemble. Place tomato sauce in the bottom of 2 baking dishes.
- Stuff the cannelloni tubes with the pumpkin mixture, and place in a single layer in the baking trays on top of the tomato sauce.
- Once the trays are full, poor cheese sauce over the cannelloni tubes to cover and sprinkle the tops with mozzarella.
- You can either cook a tray of cannelloni in a 180 degrees celsius oven for 45 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and the top is golden brown, or refrigerate or freeze to cook later. Enjoy.
What favourite pasta recipes do you like to make on a regular basis? Has this post inspired any new ideas?