Give pancakes a savoury twist with this Italian-style meatball, spinach and ricotta filling, topped with gooey mozzarella that's ideal for Shrove Tuesday or everyday dining.
- 420g pack free-range pork meatballs
- 400g bag fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp basil pesto
- 250g tub ricotta
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 pre-made pancakes
- 500g carton passata
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 125g ball mozzarella, torn
- 1 bunch of basil, leaves only
MethodCut each one in half and set aside.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- pinch golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
- 500g spinach, washed
- 300g soft rindless goat's cheese
- 100g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
- pinch grated nutmeg
- 200g dried cannelloni tubes
- 1 ball mozzarella, sliced
- First make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a shallow pan, then fry the garlic for 1 min until fragrant. Add the sugar, vinegar and oregano. Simmer for a moment, then tip in the tomatoes and season. Simmer sauce for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have cooked down to a thick sauce. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the spinach in a large colander, then pour over a kettle of hot water to wilt it (you may need to do this twice). Pour over cold water to cool it down. Squeeze the spinach, then place it in a clean tea towel and wring out the water really well.
- Tip the spinach into a food processor and pulse to chop, then crumble in the goat’s cheese and half the Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then blitz until everything is finely chopped. Using a piping bag, or a plastic food bag with the corner cut off, squeeze the mix into the cannelloni tubes, then lay them, side by side, in a baking dish. Pour over the tomato sauce and top with the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. The cannelloni can now be frozen for up to 1 month – defrost completely before cooking. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and bubbling, then remove and leave to stand for 5 mins. Serve from the dish.
- Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a medium-size bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix the milk and 100ml of water together. Break the eggs into the well and start whisking slowly. Add the milk and water in a steady stream, whisking constantly and gradually incorporating the flour as you do so.
- Whisk until the batter is smooth and all the flour has been incorporated. Set the batter aside to rest for 30 mins, then whisk the melted butter into the batter.
- Heat the pan over a medium heat. Very lightly grease the pan with melted butter. Using a ladle, pour roughly 2 tbsp of batter into the pan and swirl it around so the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. You want to use just enough batter to make a delicate, lacy pancake. Cook the pancake for about 45 secs on one side until golden and then using a palette knife or fish slice, flip the pancake over and cook the other side for about 30 secs until it freckles.
- Slide the pancake out of the pan and either serve immediately or stack on a plate with baking parchment in between. Continue until all the batter is used up.
- 1 x classic pancake recipe (see 'Goes well with')
- sunflower oil, for greasing
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g blanched almonds
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 50g unsalted butter
- 175ml whole milk
- 125ml double cream
- 2 tbsp brandy or dark rum
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- whipped cream, to serve
- Prepare pancakes following a classic recipe (see 'Goes well with').
- Lightly brush a baking sheet with sunflower oil. Tip the caster sugar into a medium-size saucepan, add 2-3 tbsp of water and set the pan over a low-medium heat to allow the sugar to slowly dissolve into the water. Bring to the boil and continue to cook until the syrup becomes amber-coloured caramel.
- Working quickly, tip the blanched almonds and salt into the pan and continue to cook for 30 secs-1 min until the caramel turns deep amber and the almonds are toasted. Tip the praline onto the oiled baking sheet and leave until completely cold and hardened. Break the praline into chunks and whizz in the food processor until coarsely chopped.
- To make the chocolate sauce, combine all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lay one pancake in the bottom of a 20cm springform tin and spread over 1 tbsp of chocolate sauce. Scatter with chopped praline and top with another pancake. Continue in this manner until you have used all 12 pancakes, topping the stack with a pancake.
- Cover the tin with foil and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around 20 mins or until hot through. Gently warm the remaining chocolate sauce, cut the cake into wedges and serve scattered with the remaining praline chocolate sauce, and a bowl of lightly whipped cream alongside.