This recipe began with a search through our Italian-influenced cookbooks for a dish that would make good use of some leftover ricotta. I found what I was looking for in a collection compiled by Melbourne restaurateur, Maurizio Terzini. The original recipe used very similar ingredients but I have modified the method significantly to suit our technical capabilities. The result is quite delicious and could even be offered as a Hallowe’en treat!
If you don’t have fresh sage growing in your garden and have to buy a bunch from a store, you can freeze the leftover leaves.
50ml olive oil
400g Jap pumpkin, skin left on and cut into 3-4cm chunks
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-20 sage leaves, finely chopped
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
100g grated pecorino (or parmesan)
salt and pepper
10-12 cannelloni tubes (prepared according to packet instructions)
Béchamel sauce made using 1½ cups of milk
2 tbsp chopped parsley
grated pecorino, extra
- Preheat oven to 170C, toss pumpkin chunks in 20ml of olive oil and bake skin-side down for 30-40 minutes, until all the flesh is soft. When cool enough, remove the skin, place pumpkin in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat 30ml of olive oil in a saucepan over low heat and add the garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, add the sage and sauté for a further 2 minutes until the garlic is soft. Allow to cool then add the garlic and its cooking oil to the pumpkin.
- Add nutmeg, ricotta, pecorino and egg to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Use a piping bag or a narrow teaspoon to fill each cannelloni tube with the pumpkin mixture. Use as many tubes as will take up about 85% of the mixture; retain the surplus.
- Place tubes in a baking dish, leaving a gap between adjoining tubes to allow for expansion.
- Stir the chopped parsley into the béchamel sauce. Add the leftover pumpkin mixture and about 1/2 a cup of milk and stir well to combine. Pour the sauce over the cannelloni. Sprinkle lightly with more pecorino.
- If you are using ‘instant’ cannelloni tubes, leave the dish to rest for about 20 minutes so they can begin to soften.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160-170C (do this earlier if you are using tubes that you have prepared in boiling water).
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cannelloni tubes are soft and the pecorino is beginning to turn golden brown.