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Directions for: Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

Sauce

2 lb. (908g) small vine-ripened tomatoes

1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

4 clove garlic, halved

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can crushed tomatoes (19oz/540 ml)

2 cup vegetable broth

1 ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning

⅒ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

8 whole basil leaves (medium sized), chopped

Filling

2 cup part-skim (5%) ricotta cheese

1 cup 2% cottage cheese (mash with fork)

½ cup packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ pkg frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and finely chopped

1 egg

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp dried basil

⅒ tsp freshly ground black pepper

pinch nutmeg

5 sheet fresh whole-grain lasagna noodles (see tip below)

½ cup packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauce

1. To make sauce, halve or quarter the tomatoes, depending on their size. Place tomatoes, fennel, onions, red pepper, and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well using your hands. Roast vegetables at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes on middle oven rack. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool slightly. At this time, you can remove and discard any loose tomato skins.

2. Transfer vegetables to a large pot. Add crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer sauce over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Purée sauce using immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a food processor or regular blender to purée). Stir in basil leaves. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Filling

1. While vegetables for the sauce are roasting, prepare filling. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F. Spray a large baking pan (at least 9 x 13-inch) with cooking spray. Coat bottom of baking pan with sauce (about 1 cup should do it). Cut uncooked lasagna noodles in half cross-wise. Working one at a time, place about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup filling in the centre of noodle. Roll up tightly to enclose filling. Place seam-side down in pan. Repeat with remaining noodles and filling. Cover cannelloni with sauce (you will not use all of the sauce; freeze the leftover sauce to use for a busy weeknight pasta dish!). Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (they're hot!).

3. Tip: Packages of fresh, whole wheat or whole grain lasagna sheets can be found near the deli in most grocery stores, where you would buy ravioli or tortellini.

See more: Healthy, Tomatoes, Low-Fat, Dinner, Main, Vegetables, Roast, Vegetarian, Bake, Lunch, Cheese, Italian