Here's my latest post for Fall Fest hosted by FN Dish. This time it's all about spinach. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for more delicious recipes by the other Fall Fest contributors. They'll make a spinach lover out of you!
When I met my husband over 22 years ago, I had never gardened before. I hadn't really cooked before. I was lucky that he was the type of person who ate almost anything. So I could experiment and since he was a wannabe farmer I learned to garden. The first year we grew almost everything. He had an old book called Back To Basics that was all about gardening, canning, preserving, almost everything you needed to know to be self-sufficient. It became my Bible.
One Fall I grew broccoli, cauliflower (the kind that had to be blanched by tying up the leaves over the heads-another thing I learned from the book), and all kinds of greens. So from then on I associated Fall with those kinds of veggies. Especially greens like spinach.
I've never been a spinach fan. My son and husband on the other hand love it. I'm more of a meat and cheese person, so I thought, "why not come up with something that combines it all?" Here's what I came up with: Cannelloni Stuffed with Ricotta, Spinach and Italian Sausage.
Cannelloni is a long pasta shell that is sold dry in the pasta aisle. But if you'd like to make your own I've included the instructions and ingredients for that too. The homemade ones are easier to stuff since they're basically a crepe. Traditionally cannelloni are covered with tomato sauce and cheese, but I thought I'd shake it up a little bit by covering mine with a cheesy bechamel sauce.
Here's what you'll need:
1 frozen package spinach, defrosted and drained
8 ounces of ricotta cheese
1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
2 sweet Italian sausage links
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg beaten
Cheesy Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons oil (if the sausage didn't have enough drippings)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan and more for the top.
This recipe should make 7-8 cannelloni.
To make the filling:
1. In a large skillet brown the sausage and onion together adding olive oil if needed.
2. In a large bowl combine ricotta, spinach, garlic, beaten egg and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once the sausage is browned and the onions are cooked, set it aside to cool slightly.
4. Combine the sausage mixture and ricotta mixture until well combined.
To make the cannelloni
1. Combine the flour and salt.
2. Combine the egg and milk.
3. Pour the egg and milk into the flour and stir to combine.
In a small nonstick skillet pour a ladle full of the batter into the pan and swirl to coat. Cook the crepe until it's set. Flip and cook on the other side.
The crepes can be stacked onto a plate until all of them are cooked. Fill each crepe with 2 tablespoons of filling. Roll them up and place them into an oblong baking dish.
To make the cheesy bechamel sauce
In the same pan that you cooked the sausage add enough olive oil to add up to 2 tablespoons. To the oil add 2 tablespoons of flour and cook on medium heat for about a minute, just to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the milk and cook until thick. Add the parmesan, reserving some for the top.
Pour sauce over the cannelloni. Bake at 425 degrees until bubbly and brown, about 10 minutes.
The result is a garlicky, cheesy dish that is loaded with sausage and spinach.
The dish could be made completely vegetarian by eliminating the sausage and adding some mushrooms.
That's my attempt at combining my favorites -- meat and cheese and my husband's and son's -- spinach.
Here are the links for more delicious recipes and ideas for using spinach. Give these a try and let them know how it worked out for you. I know I will!!
What's Gaby Cooking: Spinach-Artichoke Cups
And Love It Too: Bacon Infused Wilted Spinach
Spinach-Pesto Tacos With Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Farmhouse 1885:
Virtually Homemade: Spinach Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Spinach and Artichoke Fondue
Glory Foods: Creamed Spinach
The Sensitive Epicure: Catalan Spinach With Raisins, Pine Nuts and Bacon
CIA Dropout: Spinach and Cheddar Frittata
FN Dish: Stuffed Spinach Recipes
Have a favorite way to make spinach? Have a recipe to share?
Next time FN Dish, Fall Fest will be all about potatoes, so be sure to stop by.