Recipe: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee DeCaires

This quirky looking dish uses the pumpkin as cannelloni tubes which means it’s gluten free. To get the thin strips of pumpkin, I used a mandoline (The Scullery in Hamilton have a great range), (The Gilded Edge in Mount Maunganui have a great range), but be warned, mandolines are the cause of some pretty ugly accidents. I have found a good quality speed peeler can also do the job, if not quite as fast as the mandoline.

The type of pumpkin you use is also crucial! A butternut is by far the easiest. Once you have mastered cutting thin strips of pumpkin, use them to replace the pasta in your next lasagne.

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g fresh spinach, chopped
500g ricotta
¼ cup feta
¼ cup Parmesan
1 egg
1 butternut pumpkin, peeled but kept whole
2 cups of passata

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the spinach and cook until this has wilted. Take off the heat and allow to cool before mixing in the ricotta, feta, Parmesan and egg.

Pour the passata in the base of a deep (approx. 2 litre) baking dish.

Using the mandoline (or vege peeler) peel strips of pumpkin. Place a spoonful of the ricotta mix on each strip, roll up and then place these in the tomato sauce-lined baking dish. The first couple are the hardest as each new one helps support the other and keeps them from unfolding. If you have managed to slice wide strips you can either fill these and place them in the dish like traditional cannelloni tubes or if you want the look of them all facing upwards slice these strips in half lengthways. You want your tubes to just reach the top of the baking dish.

When the dish is full, bake in a moderate oven for about 25–35 minutes. The ricotta filling should be firm, pumpkin cooked and tomato sauce bubbling.

Serve with a little extra shaved Parmesan cheese.

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