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Silverbeet and Ricotta Canneloni

This is a bold, easy yet impressive pasta dish that children, big or small, will love to help you cook. The uncomplicated flavours will appeal to developing palates and even better you can find most ingredients at the market. Makes about 20 rolls.

silverbeet,  2 bunches
ricotta, 400g
eggs, 1 beaten
lemon zest, 1/2 lemon
freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ tsp
salt, 1/2tsp
black pepper, ½ tsp freshly ground
Fresh lasagna sheets
Tomato Sauce, 750ml approximately *recipe below

Cut the silverbeet leaves away from the stems then cook them in two batches in a large pot filled with salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain the silverbeet into a colander then using a large flat spoon compress the leaves to release the excess water. Arrange the leaves on a dinner plate and set aside to cool.

Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Spread one-third of the tomato sauce over the base of a greased 20 cm  x 30 cm ovenproof dish. Lay a lasagne sheet on a flat surface, spoon on some ricotta filling and roll up. Place in the baking dish, seam- side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and sheets. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cannelloni.

Very simple tomato sauce
The recipe will make more than is required so save the rest for another occasion!
onions, 2 medium, peeled and chopped
garlic, 4-5 cloves, peeled and chopped
tomato sauce / passata, 2 ltr
basil, ½ bunch
extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup plus extra
salt to taste

Choose a large heavy based saucepan and heat about a ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until softened and turning golden. Add the garlic and ½ of the basil, including the stems and cook for a few minutes – it will become quite aromatic.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 1 hour or until sauce is thickened. Season with salt, remove the basil stems and throw in the remaining basil leaves, stir then taste the sauce. The tomatoes should taste fresh but not raw and the sauce should be a perfect balance between sweet and salty. If the sauce tastes a little sour then the addition of a little extra olive oil will sweeten the sauce.

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