If you follow me on any social media, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—and you should, because I’m hilarious and my cats are adorable—you’ll know that I’m writing a book. It’s a process that’s been educational, daunting, exhilarating, and terrifying; it’s also why I haven’t been doing much with this blog.
But today, I reached the point in the story when my main character learns a huge secret about herself. It’s a pivotal scene, and while I have much of it blocked out in my head, I’m still worried it won’t play out as well on my screen. So I did what any good writer would do. I procrastinated. With cooking.
I adapted this recipe for cannelloni from The Looneyspoons Collection, by Janet and Greta Podleski. Theirs includes a homemade sauce, and uses fresh lasagna noodles, cut in half and stuffed. I’m too lazy to make my own sauce, and I couldn’t find fresh noodles at the store the first time I made this. Besides, the noodles I used—oven ready dried cannelloni—are even easier.
I originally posted this thread on Twitter, but because of bunch of you, *looks at my feed* okay, four of you asked me to, I’m posting the recipe here.
Cannelloni aka Writing Fuel
2 cups ricotta cheese (one 500 ml container)
1 cup cottage cheese (I used 2%)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (the fresh stuff, not the Kraft stuff)
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry (the original recipe said ½ pkg, but I love spinach)
¼ tsp each dried basil and oregano (I eyeballed it and added way more)
Pinch nutmeg (optional; I never use it because I hate the stuff, but you do you)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar prepared pasta sauce (I use the Classico Florentine Spinach and Cheese)
1 package of oven-ready cannelloni (you won’t use it all)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or a couple of generous handfuls)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the filling ingredients together, except the spinach.
Thaw the spinach (I use the microwave, but don’t put it in it too long or it’ll be too hot to handle). Then, squeeze handfuls of the thawed spinach over the sink to get as much water out as possible. Use a fork to separate the clumps of spinach while you mix it with the other filling ingredients.
Spray a large (9×13 inch) pan with cooking spray, then coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. Use just enough to coat, so you have lots of sauce to pour over the pasta.
Working one at a time, stuff the pasta with the filling. I use a butter knife to tuck the stuff in one side so each tube is about ¾ full, then finish filling from the other end. Place them in the pan; it’s fine if they’re crammed together. Once you have layered the pan (and hopefully used all the filling), use the rest of the sauce to cover the pasta. Make sure there isn’t any exposed dried pasta or it won’t soften. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Eh, maybe add some more.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Let stand (aka behold the perfection you have created) for 5 minutes before serving.