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Pumping iron, cannelloni style

I was a good little egg and donated blood this week. As much as I like helping others out, giving blood isn’t something I do very often because my non-gushy blood flow takes ages to fill up the bag and then I feel a bit woozy for a few days afterwards. Boo!

So in an attempt to boost my iron levels after donating, I thought a big hit of spinach would do the trick. Wanting to branch out and try something new, I decided to make a spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Then after chatting with one of the gals at the office, I decided to jazz it up by throwing some pumpkin and pine nuts into the mix. I was well chuffed with the result, it was far more delicious than I expected!

Making the cannelloni reminded me think of my childhood friend who, unfortunately for me, now lives on the other side of the country in Perth. She’s a great cook and was taught how to make some fabulous dishes by her Italian mother-in-law. This one’s for you Lyndal!

I didn’t have a piping bag to fill the tubes so I used a resealable sandwich bag and cut a hole in one corner. Next time I try my hand at cannelloni I’ll make the version from Vegetarian Bible 2 which has sweet potato, walnuts and goat’s cheese. Yum!

Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta cannelloni
800g Kent pumpkin, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans plain diced tomatoes
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
250g frozen spinach, thawed, excess liquid removed
400g fresh low-fat ricotta
Pinch of ground nutmeg
200g instant dried cannelloni tubes
250g coarsely grated mozzarella
2 Tbs pine nuts

  1. In a medium saucepan cover pumpkin with cold water and simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain pumpkin, return to the pan and mash. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Wipe the pan clean.
  3. Heat oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Stir in the tomato and chilli. Bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread 3/4 cup of tomato mixture over the base of a 20 x 30cm baking tray.
  5. Add the spinach, ricotta, nutmeg and pine nuts to the pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the pumpkin mixture into a piping bag. Fill cannelloni tubes with pumpkin mixture.
  7. Arrange filled tubes in a single layer, in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining cannelloni tubes and pumpkin mixture.
  8. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the cannelloni. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.

Adapted from a recipe on

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  1. YUMMO! I’ve only ever made plain old Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni…I used a teaspoon for AGES before Dave told me to use a resealable bag. D’oh!

  2. awww MISS YOU TOO!! they look yummy!! x

  3. Looks delicious! Good on you for donating blood! I keep meaning to but don’t have any blood banks nearby and finding the time.. :(

  4. Looks so delish! Props for donating blood, still too scared to do it myself.

  5. YUM! The Steve is going to go mental when I make this for him!

  6. Here’s a great hint I learnt from an old man in North Italy – when you don’t have time to cook your tomato sauce, heat an empty pan until really really hot then chuck in half a tin of tomatoes. Wait a minute, then add the rest. They’ll sizzle and spit but it helps to instantly get that ‘long slow cooking’ flavour. To get the garlic flavour you can add garlic infused olive oil at the end :)

  7. You made cannelloni sound so easy! I’m a big fan, although don’t eat it out too much. It’s always dissappointing and tastes like mush. Sigh. Perhaps it’s best if I make it myself? :D

  8. I love it! So clever of you to use a plastic baggie to fill the pasta. Yum!

  9. Wish I could donate blood but I’m not allowed due to the requirements (under weight with low iron)

    Simply love this :) looks so yumm!

  10. spinach is my least favorite. But this looks awesome. I’ll try this!

  11. Good lord this looks amazing. I adore pumpkin and pasta and spinach, so I really NEED this in my life.
    THE HUNGRY MUM recently posted…Christmas chocolate peppermint squaresMy Profile


  1. […] Pumping iron, cannelloni style […]

  2. […] last time I made cannelloni I went for a pumpkin, spinach and ricotta version with a simple tomato sauce. This time I wanted to mix it up by removing the ricotta, using gluten […]

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