Chicken and Roast Vegetable Cannelloni

Just like mama never made: Danielle Levinson's modern take on cannelloni features a stylish mix of Mediterranean vegetables, ricotta and chicken
Chicken and Roast Vegetable Cannelloni
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 3 chicken breast fillets, skinless
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 red pepper
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs, or dried oregano
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g carton passata
  • 2x250 g packs fresh lasagne sheets

For the cheese sauce

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 55 g butter
  • 2-3 tbsp plain flour
  • 425 ml milk
  • 85 g medium-mature cheddar cheese
  • 75 ml white wine

Tips and Suggestions


You can sprinkle some extra grated Cheddar over the cannelloni before cooking if desired.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and bring the mascarpone and ricotta cheese to room temperature. Cut chicken into short strips about 2.5cm long and 0.5mm thick.

2. To prepare the vegetables: pierce the butternut squash all over with a fork and cook on high in a microwave oven for 5-6 minutes or until it gives a little when squeezed. Meanwhile, cut the red onions, aubergine and pepper into 1cm cubes. Quarter the mushrooms and discard the stalks.

3. Remove the butternut squash from the microwave oven. Peel it, then halve lengthways and scoop out the seeds and pith with a spoon. Cut the flesh into pieces measuring about 1 x 0.5cm.

4. Place all the vegetables on a baking tray, drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs. Stir so that the vegetables are well coated with oil and herbs. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelise.

5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. To make the cheese sauce: peel the onion, keeping it whole, and use the clove as a stud to pin the bay leaf to the onion. Place in a saucepan with the milk and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn off the heat and lift out and discard the onion.

7. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, add the flour and stir to give a smooth paste. Return to the heat and add the hot milk a little at a time, stirring continuously until it is incorporated in a smooth sauce. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

8. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the Cheddar and stir until melted. Mix in the wine (go easy - you only want to taste a hint of it). Remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place.

9. Remove the roast vegetables from the oven, leaving the oven switched on. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, cooked chicken, mascarpone and ricotta, mixing well until thoroughly combined. This is the stuffing for the cannelloni.

10. To assemble the dish, pour the passata over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, spreading it out to form an even layer. Take an individual sheet of lasagne and lay it vertically in front of you on the work surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of stuffing along the middle of the pasta sheet, then carefully roll into a cylinder. Lay the cannelloni on top of the passata and repeat with the remaining stuffing mixture and pasta.

11. Pour the cheese sauce over the cannelloni and bake for 30 minutes or until the pasta is soft when pierced with a fork. Serve hot accompanied by a green salad.

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