Lorraine Fitzmaurice gives her twist on this Italian classic.
For the pancakes:
- 110 g fine wholemeal or plain flour
- sea salt
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten
- 7 floz milk mixed with 3 fl oz water
- 50 g melted butter
- for the sauce:
- 570 ml milk
- 50 g butter
- 1 tblsp plain flour
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh nutmeg
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
For the filling:
- 450 g spinach
- extra virgin olive oil
- 150 g ricotta cheese
- 150 g Cashel blue
- 50 g parmesan cheese
- 1 bunch of chives (finely chopped)
- 110 g mozzarella cheese
- 50 g parmesan cheese
For the Pancakes:
- Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large roomy bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the beaten eggs. Whisk.
- Slowly pour the milk and water mixture into the flour mix continually whisking until a smooth batter has been reached.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour the rest into a bowl to use when cooking the pancakes. Heat a pan over a medium heat and begin to make the pancakes.
- Using a piece of kitchen paper, dip it in the reserved melted butter, and rub over the heated pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan, swirl to cover the base.
- When the bottom is golden, flip over to brown the other side. Slide onto a plate and repeat until all the batter has been used. There should be 12-14 pancakes. These can be made a day in advance.
- Store on a plate with pieces of greaseproof paper between each pancake and cover with cling film and refrigerate.
For the Spinach Filling:
- Wash the spinach well and shake any water from the leaves and place in a heated pot with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Cook until wilted and drain in a colander to remove any excess liquid. Place the ricotta, Cashel blue, parmesan cheese into a bowl.
- Squeeze the spinach to remove any more liquid and roughly chop.
- Add to the cheeses along with a grating of fresh nutmeg. Season with a little salt.
- For the Sauce:
- Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour and cook for a few minutes to brown a little. Remove form the heat and whisk in the milk until combined, taking care to avoid any lumps.
- Return to the heat and add the bay leaf and a pinch of salt, whisking continually until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a grating of nutmeg.
- To Assemble the Dish:
- Stir 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the spinach and cheese mixture.
- Butter an oven proof dish (approx; 9in x 11 in).
- Lay a pancake onto a flat surface and place a tablespoon of filling down the centre. Roll up the pancake and place in the dish, seam side down.
- Repeat until all the pancakes and filling have been used.
- Pour over the sauce and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (Gas 6) for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Potential problems and Solutions:
- P: The cannelloni sauce could become lumpy -Blending it would solve that.
- P: The pancakes could dry out if not covered properly if making the day before - A light spraying with water would solve this.
- P: The pancakes could stick to the oven dish - Butter the oven dish