For a pasta dish that looks as good as it tastes, try this butternut squash recipe this week and it will fast become a family favourite.
- for the sauce
- a little olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- pinch sugar
- pinch chilli flakes
- for the filling
- 150g (5oz) spinach
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, diced and roasted until soft
- 250g (9oz) ricotta, drained
- 50g (2oz) grated Parmesan
- juice ½ lemon
- handful basil leaves, torn
- 14-16 cannelloni tubes
- for the topping
- 250g (9oz) mascarpone
- juice ½ lemon
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 150g (5oz) Taleggio cheese, sliced
Make the sauce. Heat a sauté pan with a glug of olive oil, and add the onion and garlic. Soften gently for 5 to 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes, sugar and chilli flakes. Season and cook for around 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Wilt the spinach in a dry frying pan, stirring often, then place in a sieve and press firmly down with kitchen towel to remove the excess moisture. Chop roughly and combine with the other filling ingredients, mashing the squash slightly so it begins to come apart. Season to taste, then divide between the cannelloni tubes using your hands – this can be a bit messy!
Heat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. When the sauce is cooked, spread it over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then arrange the cannelloni on top and press down so the tubes are half coated in the sauce. You can freeze it at this stage. Defrost thoroughly and follow the next step.
Mix the mascarpone with the lemon juice and olive oil, and enough water until you can drizzle it easily. Season, then drizzle over the top of the cannelloni and top with the Taleggio. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, and the top is golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.