How to make Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach

Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach, a dish that speaks to the comfort of the Italian kitchen, is a true embrace of culinary warmth. At Italy Today Restaurant, which you can find at the click of a button at, we hold dear the traditions that have shaped our cuisine into an international symbol of love and family.

As the head chef, it’s my honor to guide you through the creation of this heartwarming recipe, sharing not just the method but the story woven into its fabric. Every ingredient forms a sentence in the narrative of our Italian heritage—a narrative that is continually enriched with each table it graces.

Envision delicate cannelloni tubes, filled to the brim with a creamy amalgamation of fresh ricotta cheese and nutrient-rich spinach. The ricotta provides a velvety, rich foundation, while the spinach adds a subtle earthiness and a touch of color that harken back to the fertile fields of Italy.

These filled rolls are lovingly nestled side by side in a baking dish, as though they were the many vibrant characters in an Italian village, covered with a savory tomato sauce and besprinkled with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. As it bakes, the top becomes golden and bubbly, a sight that ignites anticipation for the first bite.

The fusion of cheese, spinach, and pasta creates a comforting blanket of flavor, each mouthful a testament to the simplicity yet profound depth found in traditional Italian meals.

To bring this timeless classic of Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach into your home, and to experience the joy of cooking it from scratch, I warmly invite you to visit us at There you will find step-by-step instructions and insights into bringing a piece of Italy directly to your dinner table.

Buon appetito – may this dish wrap you in its culinary embrace, providing not just sustenance, but a taste of the rich tapestry of Italian life and love.

Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach

Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach is an Italian cuisine classic that embodies the warmth and comfort associated with traditional Italian meals. It's a recipe that brings together soft, creamy ricotta cheese and nutrient-packed spinach wrapped in tender cannelloni pasta tubes. These elements are baked together under a blanket of savory tomato sauce, enhanced with the melting flavors of mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses.
As the centerpiece of this dish, the cannelloni pasta acts as a vessel for the rich filling, with each pasta tube generously packed with the ricotta and spinach mixture. The combination of these ingredients provides both depth of flavor and textural contrast – the creamy richness of the cheese complemented by the earthy notes of the spinach.
The entire dish is oven-baked until the cheese on top turns golden and bubbly, making it a gratifying sight for anyone ready to enjoy a hearty meal. This delightful recipe not only promises culinary comfort but also a connection to Italy’s vibrant food heritage and the simplicity found within its traditional home cooking.
For those eager to prepare this comforting dish, step-by-step cooking instructions can be found on Italy Today Restaurant's website at, where the head chef shares more behind the scenes and insights into Italian cooking traditions.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 856 kcal


  • 1 oven


  • 12 cannelloni rolls
  • 500 g 18 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 250 g 9 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 onion
  • 50 g 1.7 oz parmesan
  • 50 g 1.7 oz Gruyère cheese

For the béchamel sauce (white sauce):

  • 50 g 1.7 oz butter
  • 30 g 1.7 oz flour
  • 1/2 liter 17 oz milk
  • Salt and pepper


  • Peel the onion and garlic and expand them. Place in an oiled pan and fry quickly. Then add the frozen chopped spinach. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Once the spinach is cooked, add the ricotta and mix. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce (white sauce) : Place the butter in a pan and let it melt, then add the flour, stirring strongly. You should get some kind of ball. Then gradually add the milk until the béchamel is fairly liquid. Add salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of the béchamel sauce.
  • Garnish the cannelloni rolls with the spinach stuffing and arrange them in a dish. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and Gruyère cheese then place in oven at 200 ° C (390 ° F) for 30 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!



How to cook Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach using oven

Ricotta and spinach baked cannelloni | Recipe | Kitchen Stories

  • Preheat the Oven: Begin by heating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Make the Filling: In a bowl, combine fresh ricotta cheese with washed and finely chopped spinach leaves. Add in grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, an egg to bind the mixture (if desired), and seasoning with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Prepare the Cannelloni Tubes: If you have fresh cannelloni tubes, you can use them directly. For dry pasta tubes, you may need to pre-cook them according to package instructions just until they are pliable but not fully cooked.
  • Fill the Cannelloni: Carefully stuff each cannelloni tube with the ricotta and spinach mixture using a small spoon or a piping bag without a tip.
  • Sauce the Baking Dish: Spread a thin layer of your chosen tomato sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish to prevent sticking.
  • Arrange the Cannelloni: Place the filled cannelloni tubes side by side on top of the sauce in the baking dish.
  • Cover with Sauce: Pour more tomato sauce over the filled cannelloni, ensuring they are well-covered to prevent drying out during baking.
  • Add Cheese: Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese and additional Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of the sauce-covered cannelloni.
  • Bake the Dish: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Then, uncover and continue to bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, and the cannelloni are heated through, usually an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Rest Before Serving: Let the dish sit for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven to set before serving. This makes it easier to cut and serve without the filling spilling out.

Tips for making about Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni | RecipeTin Eats

Cooking Tips

  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ricotta cheese for a creamier and more authentic taste. Fresh spinach also provides a better texture and flavor compared to frozen varieties.
  • Spice It Up: Don’t shy away from adding a pinch of nutmeg to the ricotta and spinach filling, as it complements the creaminess of the cheese and brings an additional layer of flavor.
  • Cannelloni Tubes: If using dry cannelloni tubes, be careful not to overcook them before stuffing. They should be pliable but not fully cooked since they will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Stuffing the Tubes: A piping bag without a tip—or even a plastic bag with the corner snipped off—makes filling the cannelloni easier and cleaner. Fill each tube fully, but be mindful not to rupture them.
  • Saucy Base: Lay a thin base layer of tomato sauce in the baking dish before arranging the stuffed cannelloni. This helps to prevent sticking and scorching at the bottom.
  • Cover With Sauce: Ensure that the filled cannelloni are completely covered with tomato sauce to prevent them from drying out during the baking process.
  • Cheesy Topping: The combination of mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top adds both richness and a wonderful golden crust. Be generous for a gooey, delicious finish.
  • Bake Covered, Then Uncovered: Bake the dish covered with foil initially to keep the moisture in, then remove the foil towards the end of the cooking time to allow the cheese to turn golden brown and bubbly.
  • Rest Before Serving: Let the baked cannelloni rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This allows the dish to set, making it easier to serve without falling apart.
  • Garnish and Serve: Garnish with fresh basil or parsley for a pop of color and a fresh taste that cuts through the richness of the cheeses.

Serving suggestions

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni | RecipeTin Eats

  • Presentation: Prepare your cannelloni in a large, attractive baking dish that can go from oven to table for an authentic family-style experience. Let the golden, cheesy topping be the centerpiece as you present the dish.
  • Garnishes: After baking, consider adding a sprinkle of fresh basil or parsley over the top of the cannelloni. This not only adds a splash of color but also complements the flavors with a fresh, herby aroma.
  • Cheese Accents: Offer additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table for guests who enjoy an extra touch of rich, savory flavor on their pasta.
  • Bread Pairing: Serve with slices of crusty Italian bread or garlic bread to soak up any delicious sauce that remains in the dish.
  • Salad Side: A crisp salad dressed in a light vinaigrette works wonderfully as a side for this rich dish, providing balance and freshness to the palate.
  • Wine Selection: A medium-bodied red wine such as a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Chianti complements the creamy richness of the ricotta and the tanginess of the tomato sauce.
  • Proper Resting: Allow the cannelloni to rest for a few minutes after removing from the oven before serving to help set the filling, making it easier to portion and maintain its shape on the plate.

Top 5 FAQs about Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach

Italian beef, spinach & ricotta cannelloni

  • Can I use pre-cooked cannelloni tubes for this recipe? Yes, fresh cannelloni tubes can be used directly in the recipe, but if you have dry pasta tubes, they may need to be pre-cooked according to the package instructions until they’re just pliable, not fully cooked, before filling.
  • What kind of cheese is best for the filling? For an authentic taste, the recipe recommends using fresh ricotta cheese combined with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fresh ricotta is preferred for its creaminess and flavor.
  • How do I prevent the cannelloni from drying out in the oven? To prevent the cannelloni from drying out, ensure that they are completely covered with tomato sauce before baking. Baking the dish initially covered with foil also helps retain moisture.
  • Is it necessary to add an egg to the ricotta and spinach filling? An egg acts as a binder for the mixture. It’s optional but helps in keeping the filling together within the cannelloni tubes during baking. If you choose not to use it, take care when filling and handling the stuffed tubes.
  • How long should I bake the Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach, and at what temperature? Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Then, uncover and continue to bake until the cheese is golden and the cannelloni are heated through, usually an additional 10-15 minutes.

Cannelloni with Ricotta and Spinach is a traditional Italian dish that truly encapsulates the comfort and spirit of Italian home cooking. Each cannelloni tube, generously stuffed with a creamy mixture of fresh ricotta and spinach, represents the care and attention to detail that goes into preparing such a meal. Layered with a rich tomato sauce and topped with a golden bubbly crust of mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, this dish is both visually inviting and gastronomically satisfying.

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