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Cannelloni With Spinach, Raisins and Pine Nuts

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“From The New Spanish Table. According to the author, though cannelloni may have their origins in Italy, they have become something of a Catalan national dish. Rather than ricotta fillings and tomato-based sauces, Catalon cannelloni dishes can be filled with fish, ground meat or spinach. No-boil lasagna noodles can be used in place of cannelloni squares. I love the raisins in this, but they're the only thing my son doesn't like about it, so go with your own best judgments about family preferences.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. If using fresh spinach, rinse but do not drain. Cook, covered in a large saucepan over medium heat in the water clinging to the leaves, till wilted, about 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times.
  2. Transfer the spinach to a colander and drain, when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess moisture. finely chop the spinach. (if using frozen, thaw and press out excess moisture).
  3. Heat 2 T of the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat.
  4. Add the garlic, pine nuts, raisins and ham, if using, and cook till the pine nuts and garlic are golden, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped spinach and cook for about 1 minute, stirring to distribute all the ingredients evenly.
  6. Season the spinach with salt and pepper to taste, transfer it to a bowl and set aside.
  7. Melt the butter with the remaining 1 T olive oil in a heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium low heat.
  8. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for about 2 minutes.
  9. Add the milk in a steady stream, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly.
  10. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, till the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  11. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Set about 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture aside.
  13. To finish off the filling, stir 2/3 cup of the sauce into the remaining spinach, set the rest of the sauce aside.
  14. Preheat oven to 400°F; lightly butter a 12x9 gratin dish or shallow ceramic baking dish.
  15. Bring 5-6 quarts water to a boil over high heat.
  16. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the pot.
  17. Working in two batches, boil the sheets of pasta, stirring to separate them, till al dente - about 2 minutes for fresh pasta and about 6 minutes for no boil lasagna noodles.
  18. Using tongs, transfer the noodles to the ice water to stop the cooking.
  19. Lift the noodles from the water, shaking off excess and lay them flat on a dry linen towel.
  20. Repeat with the remaining pasta, bringing the water back to a rolling boil before adding the second batch.
  21. Pat the pasta dry with paper towels before filling it.
  22. Place about 1/4 cup of the spinach filling close to one end of a noodle (if using lasagna, use the long end), shaping it into a compact log.
  23. Starting with a long end, roll up the noodle, then cut it in half crosswise.
  24. Place the filled noodles seam side down in the prepared dish.
  25. Repeat with remaining noodles and filling.
  26. The filled noodles should fit snugly in a single layer.
  27. Stir the reserved 1/2 cup of spinach and any of the filling you may have left over into the served sauce and spread evenly over the cannelloni.
  28. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.
  29. Bake till the cannelloni are hot and the top is browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
  30. If you'd like the top more browned, pass the dish under the broiler for a few minutes.
  31. Let cool for a few minutes then serve straight from the baking dish.

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