I first created this recipe with cannelloni in mind, and it works really well, just increase the cooking time by 10 mins and cover with foil for the first 20 mins to stop the top from burning. But I would get so bored filling what felt like millions of pasta tubes that I decided to look for another option.
I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of pancakes for breakfast. I don’t have a massively sweet tooth, and certainly can’t eat anything sweet for breakfast, but I felt like I was missing out every pancake day. Then, at an Italian restaurant, I had pancakes stuffed with asparagus with a creamy sauce on top and it was delicious. So I decided to try my spinach and ricotta mix rolled into pancakes instead of stuffed into cannelloni tubes, and it worked a treat. Now I have this every Pancake day.
They freeze in portions really well in plastic tubs, then just defrost and microwave like you would with a ready meal. Make sure it’s piping hot right the way through before serving.
Ready in 65 mins (15 mins for the pancakes, 20 mins prep, 30 mins bake) – serves 4.
- 1 tablespoon of salted butter
- 250mls of milk
- 100g of plain flour
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, crushed then finely chopped
- 200g of fresh spinach
- 250g of ricotta cheese
- 50g of pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 100g of grated mature cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 500g jar of a tomato based pasta sauce
- Put butter in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 secs in microwave until melted
- Add half the milk, the flour and the egg to the melted butter and whisk until smooth
- Add the rest of the milk and whisk together – Pic 1
- Lightly spray a large frying pan or crepe pan with Fry Light or something similar or lightly brush with oil
- Heat the pan to a medium heat then pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan evenly and thinly – Pic 2
- Fry for a few mins then toss or turn over with a fish slice and fry on the other side. The pancakes should be golden brown on each side – Pic 3
- Set pancakes aside and allow to cool. This batter recipe will make about 5 pancakes.
- Preheat oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas mark 6.
- Heat a pan to a medium heat on the hob and add the oil, onion and garlic. cook until soft but not brown – Pic 4
- Turn the heat down to low and add the spinach a handful at a time, mixing it in to the onion and garlic until all the spinach is wilted – Pic 5
- Set aside and allow to cool
- Put all the ricotta, pine nuts and black pepper; and half the cheddar cheese, herbs and paprika into a bowl and mix well – Pic 6
- Stir the spinach and onion mix into the cheese mix – Pic 7
- Spoon an even amount into the middle of each pancake, spreading it out into a long sausage – Pic 8
- Fold one side of the pancake over the mixture and then continue to roll onto the other side – Pics 9 and 10
- Place the filled rolled up pancakes, edge down, in a large oven proof dish – Pic 11
- Spread the tomato pasta sauce over the pancakes and the rest of the cheddar cheese and herbs on top – Pic 12
- Put in the oven and bake for 30 mins, or until the cheese has browned on top and it is piping hot throughout. – Pic 13
- Serve with a fresh salad and garlic bread.