A simple homemade pasta is transformed into a classic Italian bake. 






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (66 votes)


Pasta dough

  • 3 eggs
  • 300 g (2¾ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • semolina for dusting


  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 300 g (1½ cups) whole milk ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cups pecorino cheese (or parmigiano)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 g (2 cups) tinned tomatoes
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) hot water
  • salt to taste
  • handful fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra to garnish


  • 1 cup grated parmigiano or pecorino, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or bocconcini

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 50 minutes

1. For the dough, put eggs and flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blades. Pulse 8-10 times or until the mixture resembles wet sand.

2. Take it out of the bowl, press it together with your hands and knead it for 1 or 2 minutes to release the gluten and make it come together in a smooth ball. Add 1 tbsp of water if the dough feels too dry. Cover in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, for the filling, saute the spinach with garlic and oil, cover with a lid and cook until just wilted. Set aside to cool.

4. Mix the ricotta with eggs, pecorino cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest, parsley and seasoning. Add the cooled spinach and mix to combine. Rest in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).

6. For the sauce, saute the onion in oil until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and the water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and cook gently for 15 minutes. Season with salt and a handful of fresh basil leaves.

7. Using a pasta machine or a rolling-pin, roll the pasta as thinly as you can. Cut the pasta sheet into 16 4 cm × 10 cm (1.5 in ×4 in) rectangles, dust them with semolina flour and set aside.

8. To assemble the dish, smear a few tablespoons of tomato sauce in a shallow baking dish to create a moist bed for the cannelloni to lay on.

9. Fill each cannelloni or pasta rectangle with 2-3 tbsp of filling. Roll the pasta sheet to enclose it and place the roll, seam side down, onto the tray. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have 1 layer of cannelloni. If you have left-over pasta and filling, proceed to fill up another dish.

10. Cover the layer of cannelloni with the tomato sauce so that each pasta roll is nicely drowned in it. Add some water if you think you don’t have enough sauce.

11. Dust the top with pecorino or parmigiano, shredded mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

12 Rest at room temperature for 20 minutes covered in foil, then serve, garnished with extra grated parmesan and basil leaves.