Bored of Bolognaise?

A Quick and Easy Supper Recipe for All the Family

My grandparents visited various regions of Italy many times on cooking tours over the years.  They loved it.  My grandfather particularly was always keen to add another string to his bow and I remember when I was about 8 years old, after one expedition, being invited over to their house with my sisters and brother for a pasta making afternoon, to pass on this new skill.  We had great fun together and I am pretty sure that there was flour found in all corners of the kitchen by the end of the afternoon.

Like most households, spaghetti bolognaise was a particular supper favourite in our family when I was growing up.  I am sure any Italians reading this would be appalled at the extra ingredients I chuck in that veer away from the traditional ragu, but I hate waste, so any veggies or herbs that are starting to look a little tired will be added to the pot!

I had some minced beef in the freezer which I wanted to use up this weekend, but rather than the usual spag bol, I opted for stuffing the bolognaise into some cannelloni tubes, laying them on a bed of fresh spinach and covering in white sauce.

Cannelloni with Spinach

Cannelloni with Spinach
Serves 4 adults (3 tubes each)
Prep in 45 minutes, cooks in 35 mins

Ingredients and suggested quantities:
Drizzle of olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, de-stringed and cubed
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
500g lean minced beef
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
3 handfuls chestnut mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tin chopped tomatoes
12 cannelloni tubes
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
½ pint (ish) whole milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Grated cheese, as much as you like
Bag of spinach, washed, and at this time of year, remove any large storks

  1. Soften the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes.  Add the bay leaf
  2. Turn the heat up high and add the mince to sizzle until browned.  Then add the pepper, oregano and mushrooms
  3. When you are comfortable that all the mince is browned, stir in the tomato puree with the Worcestershire sauce, then add the tin of tomatoes and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes
  4. In a separate pan melt the butter until just bubbling then add the flour and cook out for a few minutes, before adding the milk a little at a time to make a smooth white sauce
  5. Add the mustard with a handful of grated cheese
  6. Cover the bottom of an oven proof flat dish with the raw spinach leaves
  7. Fill the cannelloni tubes with the bolognaise using a teaspoon and then place on the bed of spinach leaves and then cover in the white sauce
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and then pop in a pre-heated oven at 180c for about 35 minutes until the golden and bubbling on top

To cut through the richness we ate this with a simple green salad.

Green Salad with avocado

CIMG3370

The left over bolognaise was portioned up into little pots and popped into the freezer for supper another day.  Such a classic and satisfying staple, safely prepped in the freezer, ready to go.  Love it!

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