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Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Recipe: A Flavorful Italian Comfort Dish

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Are you in the mood for a hearty Italian meal that’s both comforting and bursting with flavor? Look no further than this delectable Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Recipe. This classic dish combines the creaminess of ricotta cheese with the earthy goodness of spinach, all enveloped in perfectly cooked cannelloni tubes and smothered in rich tomato sauce. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or impressing guests at a dinner party, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Let’s dive right in and learn how to create this culinary masterpiece step by step.



The history of Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni is a tale that weaves together the flavors of Italy and the artistry of culinary innovation. This beloved dish has undergone a transformation over the years, blending tradition with modern techniques to create a mouthwatering masterpiece enjoyed by countless food enthusiasts around the world.

Ancient Roots of Cannelloni

The roots of cannelloni can be traced back to ancient Italy, where the concept of stuffed pasta first took shape. The word “cannelloni” itself is derived from the Italian word “canna,” meaning “tube,” which aptly describes the cylindrical shape of the pasta. Early renditions of cannelloni were likely filled with a variety of ingredients, ranging from minced meats to vegetables, and then baked to perfection.

Ricotta and Spinach: A Marriage of Flavors

The marriage of ricotta and spinach within the cannelloni can be attributed to the evolution of Italian cuisine during the Renaissance period. Ricotta cheese, with its creamy texture and delicate flavor, became a staple ingredient in Italian kitchens. Around the same time, spinach gained popularity for its nutritional value and versatility in cooking. The combination of these two ingredients was a stroke of culinary genius, resulting in the creation of the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni we know today.

The Modern Renaissance of Italian Cuisine

As Italian cuisine continued to evolve, so did the preparation and presentation of Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. In the mid-20th century, this dish found its place on the menus of Italian trattorias and restaurants, captivating diners with its harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The tomato sauce, which adds a burst of color and acidity, became an integral part of the dish, enhancing its visual appeal and taste.

A Global Journey

With the advent of globalization and the spread of culinary appreciation, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni transcended the borders of Italy. Food enthusiasts and chefs around the world embraced this classic dish, adding their unique twists and variations. From upscale restaurants to home kitchens, the recipe has been passed down through generations, each cook adding their personal touch to the flavorful symphony.

Innovation Meets Tradition

In recent years, culinary innovation and creativity have given rise to a plethora of exciting adaptations of Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. Chefs have experimented with alternative fillings, such as seafood, exotic cheeses, and plant-based ingredients, while still paying homage to the original essence of the dish. Gluten-free cannelloni tubes and vegan ricotta options have also emerged, catering to diverse dietary preferences.

The Enduring Legacy

Today, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni continues to hold its place as a symbol of Italian comfort food and gastronomic delight. Its journey from ancient Italy to modern kitchens across the globe is a testament to the enduring appeal of simple yet satisfying flavors. Whether enjoyed at a family gathering, a cozy restaurant, or a lavish dinner party, this dish embodies the essence of Italian culinary tradition while embracing the spirit of culinary exploration.

In each decadent bite of Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, we savor not only the harmonious blend of ricotta and spinach but also the rich history and cultural heritage that have shaped this iconic dish. As we relish the flavors that have stood the test of time, we celebrate the culinary artisans who have preserved and reinvented this masterpiece, ensuring its place on our plates and in our hearts for generations to come.


Preparing the Filling15 minutes
Cooking the Cannelloni Tubes12 minutes
Creating the Tomato Sauce20 minutes
Assembling the Cannelloni10 minutes
Baking to Perfection25 minutes
Serving and Garnishing5 minutes
Total Time (excluding resting and cooling)87 minutes (1 hour and 27 minutes)


Filling IngredientsCannelloni and Sauce Ingredients
Fresh spinach leavesCannelloni tubes
Ricotta cheeseOlive oil
Mozzarella cheeseGarlic cloves
Grated Parmesan cheeseCanned tomatoes (crushed or whole)
NutmegBasil leaves
Salt and pepperOregano


1. Preparing the Filling


  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Egg
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, a handful of finely chopped fresh spinach leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, a pinch of nutmeg, and a whisked egg.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix everything until you achieve a smooth and creamy filling, rich in flavors and textures.

2. Cooking the Cannelloni Tubes


  • Cannelloni tubes
  • Olive oil


  1. Boil the cannelloni tubes in salted water until they are slightly undercooked.
  2. Drain the tubes carefully and rinse them with cold water to prevent sticking.
  3. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tubes to further prevent sticking and set them aside.

3. Creating the Tomato Sauce


  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Canned tomatoes (crushed or whole)
  • Onion
  • Basil leaves
  • Oregano
  • Salt and sugar


  1. In a pan, heat olive oil and sauté finely chopped onion and minced garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add canned tomatoes, torn basil leaves, oregano, a pinch of sugar, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer the sauce, allowing it to thicken and the flavors to meld into a harmonious mixture.

4. Assembling the Cannelloni


  1. Fill a piping bag with the prepared spinach and ricotta mixture.
  2. Gently stuff each cannelloni tube with the creamy filling, ensuring an even distribution.
  3. Arrange the filled tubes snugly side by side in a baking dish, creating a pleasing arrangement.

5. Baking to Perfection


  • Mozzarella cheese (for topping)


  1. Pour the tomato sauce over the arranged cannelloni tubes, ensuring each tube is generously coated.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese on top to create a delicious golden crust.
  3. Bake the assembled dish in a preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden, infusing the air with an enticing aroma.

6. Serving and Garnishing


  1. Once baked to perfection, allow the cannelloni to cool slightly before serving.
  2. Garnish the dish with fresh basil leaves and an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese for an added burst of flavor.

Enjoy your homemade Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, a delectable masterpiece that’s sure to impress your taste buds and bring a touch of Italian comfort to your dining experience!

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Serving Size1 cannelloni
Total Fat12g
Saturated Fat6g
Total Carbohydrates22g
Dietary Fiber2g
Vitamin D6% DV
Calcium25% DV
Iron10% DV
Potassium8% DV

Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • Precook Cannelloni Tubes: Be sure to slightly undercook the cannelloni tubes during boiling, as they will continue to soften as they bake in the oven.
  • Stuffing Technique: To fill the cannelloni tubes easily, use a piping bag or a small spoon. Gently press the filling to reach each end.
  • Rest Before Baking: Let the assembled dish rest for about 15-20 minutes before baking. This allows the flavors to meld and the filling to settle, resulting in a more harmonious dish.
  • Bubbling Cheese: If you desire a perfectly bubbly and golden cheese topping, broil the dish for a couple of minutes after baking.
  • Leftover Magic: Refrigerate any leftover filling and sauce for a quick and delicious meal. You can also freeze pre-assembled cannelloni for future convenience.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Bursting with Flavor❌ Requires Assembly
✔️ Nutrient-Rich Spinach❌ Longer Preparation
✔️ Creamy Ricotta Filling❌ High in Saturated Fat
✔️ Versatile and Customizable❌ Calorie Dense
✔️ Italian Comfort Classic❌ Potential Allergens


As we bid adieu to this delectable culinary adventure, we invite you to embark on a journey that intertwines tradition, innovation, and a symphony of flavors. Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni is more than a recipe; it’s an experience that transports you to the heart of Italy, where every bite tells a story of rich heritage and culinary creativity.

With each layer of velvety ricotta, vibrant spinach, and luscious tomato sauce, you’re indulging in a masterpiece that unites comfort and sophistication on your plate. The creamy filling, harmonizing with the savory tang of the sauce, dances on your taste buds, creating a melody that lingers long after the last bite.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook eager to put your skills to the test or a kitchen novice ready to explore new horizons, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni welcomes you with open arms. This recipe encourages you to make it your own, whether through creative variations, personalized garnishes, or adjustments to meet dietary preferences.

So, take a leap into the world of Italian culinary magic, where simplicity and elegance unite in a dish that speaks to the soul. Share this meal with loved ones, bask in the satisfaction of creating a masterpiece, and relish the joy that comes with savoring each and every mouthful.

Don’t hesitate – bring out your inner chef, follow the steps, and allow the aroma and flavors of Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni to enchant your senses. As you embark on this flavor-filled adventure, may your kitchen become a stage for the creation of unforgettable memories and the discovery of newfound culinary passions. Buon appetito! 🍝🇮🇹


  • 1. Cheesy Beginnings 🧀
    • Did you know that the earliest versions of stuffed pasta, including cannelloni, were crafted by Italian culinary geniuses who saw pasta as a canvas for their flavor creations? The concept of stuffing pasta tubes dates back centuries, making Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni a delicious chapter in the ever-evolving culinary journey. 🎨🍝
  • 2. Popeye’s Delight 💪🌱
    • Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni isn’t just a treat for your taste buds; it’s a nod to Popeye’s favorite superfood! Spinach, rich in iron and nutrients, adds a wholesome twist to this classic dish. So, as you enjoy your cannelloni, remember that you’re embracing the essence of a timeless hero. 🦸‍♂️🥬
  • 3. From the Renaissance to Your Plate 🖌️🍽️
    • Imagine a culinary Renaissance where innovation and creativity flourished in Italian kitchens. During this period, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni emerged as a result of culinary experimentation and a desire for new flavors. Today, you’re recreating a dish that bridges the gap between history and modern gastronomy. 🇮🇹🍴
  • 4. The Art of Tube-Tying 🎨
    • Assembling cannelloni can feel like a culinary art form, akin to threading a delicious needle. The process of filling these pasta tubes with the creamy ricotta and spinach mixture is a labor of love, creating a flavorful masterpiece that’s as beautiful as it is appetizing. 🍽️✨
  • 5. More Than Meets the Eye 👁️🎭
    • Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni is a versatile dish that allows for a world of culinary creativity. Beyond its classic rendition, chefs and home cooks have embraced imaginative variations, from seafood-filled tubes to plant-powered options, turning the cannelloni stage into a canvas for personal expression. Get ready to explore a world of flavors and discover your own cannelloni masterpiece! 🌍🍽️


Can I use frozen spinach for the filling?

Yes, you can use frozen spinach, but be sure to thaw and drain it thoroughly before incorporating it into the ricotta mixture.

How can I make a vegetarian tomato sauce?

To create a vegetarian tomato sauce, simply omit the meat. Let the tomato, herbs, and spices shine for a flavorful, plant-based option.

Can I prepare this dish in advance?

Absolutely! Assemble the cannelloni and refrigerate until ready to bake. This makes it convenient for busy schedules or entertaining guests.

What’s a good side dish to accompany cannelloni?

A crisp garden salad or garlic bread pairs wonderfully with the richness of the cannelloni, offering a balanced and satisfying meal.

Can I freeze leftover cannelloni?

Yes, you can freeze leftover cannelloni individually for a quick and delicious meal later. Be sure to wrap them well to prevent freezer burn.

Can I use gluten-free cannelloni tubes?

Absolutely! Opt for gluten-free cannelloni tubes to accommodate dietary restrictions, ensuring everyone can enjoy this delightful dish.

How can I reduce the calorie content of the dish?

Consider using low-fat ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, as well as whole wheat or whole grain cannelloni tubes, for a healthier version without sacrificing taste.

What’s the best way to prevent the cannelloni from sticking together while baking?

Ensure the cannelloni tubes are generously coated with tomato sauce before baking. This will prevent them from sticking together and help them cook evenly.

Can I substitute the ricotta cheese with cottage cheese?

Yes, you can substitute ricotta with cottage cheese if desired. Blend the cottage cheese until smooth for a similar creamy texture.

Are there any wine pairing recommendations for this dish?

Absolutely! Enhance your dining experience by pairing Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni with a glass of red wine, such as Chianti or Sangiovese, which beautifully complement the rich flavors of the dish.