Blue Cheese and Leek Cannelloni

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Step 1.

Separate your cloves from the bulb of garlic. Peel and finely chop them.

Step 2.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy-based casserole over a medium-low heat. Gently fry the garlic for 5 mins until softened and lightly golden, but don't let it burn.

Step 3.

Quarter your tomatoes, then pour them into the pan. Season well, then add the vinegar and cook slowly on a low heat for an hour, so the sauce has reduced to a deep, concentrated flavour.

Step 4.

Blitz the sauce with a stick blender until it is perfectly smooth. Tear up the basil leaves and stir through.

Step 5.

For the béchamel, warm the milk, bay leaf and a generous grating of nutmeg in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave it to infuse for 10 mins.

Step 6.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, then cook out for 2 mins. Slowly add the milk bit by bit, whisking as you go to achieve a smooth consistency. Continue whisking until the milk is all combined and the sauce looks glossy.

Step 7.

Bring the béchamel to the boil slowly to thicken it, scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to avoid scorching.

Step 8.

Tear up the mozzarella and add this to the béchamel. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mozzarella is completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little bit more grated nutmeg.

Step 9.

Now make the filling. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan set over a medium heat. Wilt the spinach for 2 mins. Remove from the pan and squeeze out any water from the spinach in a sieve over the sink.

Step 10.

Roughly chop your spinach and slice your leeks.

Step 11.

Melt the butter in the same pan and add the leeks. Sweat for 5 mins until softened.

Step 12.

Mix the crème fraîche and Castello Danish Blue together in a bowl, then add your spinach, leeks, nutmeg, salt and pepper until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 13.

Transfer the spinach mixture into a piping bag, squeezing the mixture towards the nozzle so it is nicely compact and ready to pipe.

Step 14.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Step 15.

Pipe the filling into each cannelloni. Repeat until all the pasta and filling is used up.

Step 16.

Take a medium-size ceramic baking dish, (approx. 26cm), pour in half the tomato sauce, and then neatly arrange the filled cannelloni on top, packing them in tightly.

Step 17.

Press them down a little into the sauce so the cannelloni are partially submerged in the tomato sauce. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top, followed by the béchamel.

Step 18.

Grate over the Parmesan. Place in the hot oven for 30 mins until the cheese is delicious and bubbling.

Step 19.

Leave to stand for 5 mins before serving with a green salad and crusty bread.

The tomato sauce freezes really well, so make a big batch and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For The Tomato Sauce:
1 Bulb Of Garlic
1.4kg Vine Ripened Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar (or Red Wine Vinegar)
Bunch Of Basil
For The Béchamel:
300ml Milk
1 Bay Leaf
Generous Grating Of Nutmeg
25g Butter
25g Flour
250g Mozzarella
For The Filling:
200g Spinach
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Leeks
200g Crème Fraîche
200g Castello Danish Blue Cheese
Generous Grating Of Nutmeg
To Assemble:
250g Cannelloni Tubes
30g Parmesan
Olive Oil